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Christianus sum. Christiani nihil a me alienum puto 


























THIS volume completes the history of the Church in the Middle Ages. 
])r. Philip Schaff on one occasion spoke of the Middle Ages as a terra 
incognita in the United States, a territory not adequately explored. 
These words would no longer be applicable, whether we have in mind 
the instruction given in our universities or theological seminaries. In 
Germany, during the last twenty years, the study of the period has been 
greatly developed, and no period at the present time, except the Apostolic 
age, attracts more scholarly and earnest attention and research. 

The author has had no apologetic concern to contradict the old notion, 
perhaps still somewhat current in our Protestant circles, that the Middle 
Ages were a period of superstition and worthy of study as a curiosity 
rather than as a time directed and overruled by an all-seeing Providence. 
lie has attempted to depict it as it was and to allow the picture of high 
religious purpose to reveal itself side by side with the picture of hie- 
rarchical assumption and scholastic misinterpretation. Without the 
mediaeval age, the Reformation would not have been possible. Nor is 
this statement to be understood in the sense in which we speak of reach- 
ing a land of sunshine and plenty after having traversed a desert. We 
do well to give to St. Bernard and Francis d'Assisi, St. Elizabeth 
and St. Catherine of Siena, Gerson, Tauler and Nicolas of Cusa a 
high place in our list of religious personalities, and to pray for men 
to speak to our generation as well as they spoke to the generations in 
which they lived. 

Moreover, the author has been actuated by no purpose to disparage 
Christians who, in the alleged errors of Protestantism, find an insuper- 
able barrier to Christian fellowship. Where he has passed condemnatory 
judgments on personalities, as on the popes of the last years of the 15th 
and the earlier years of the 16th century, it is not because they occupied 
the papal throne, but because they were personalities who in any walk of 
life would call for the severest reprobation. The unity of the Christian 
faith and the promotion of fellowship between Christians of all names 
and all ages are considerations which should make us careful with pen or 
spoken word lest we condemn, without properly taking into consideration 
that interior devotion to Christ and His kingdom which seems to be 
quite compatible with divergencies in doctrinal statement or ceremonial 


On the pages of the volume, the author has expressed his indebtedness 
to the works of the eminent mediaeval historians and investigators of the 
<ky Gregorovius, Pastor, Mandell Creighton, Lea, Ehrle, Denifle, Finke, 
Schwab, Haller, Carl Mirbt, K. Muller, Kirsch, Loserth, Janssen, Valois, 
Burckhardt-Geiger, Seebohm and others, Protestant and Roman Catholic, 
and some no more among the living. 

It is a pleasure to be able again to express his indebtedness to the 
Rev. David E. Culley, his colleague in the Western Theological Sem- 
inary, whose studies in mediaeval history and accurate scholarship have 
been given to the volume in the reading of the manuscript, before it went 
to the printer, and of the printed pages before they received their final 

Above all, the author feels it to be a great privilege that he has been 
able to realize the hope which Dr. Philip Schaff expressed in the last 
years of his life, that his History of the Christian Church which, in four 
volumes, had traversed the first ten centuries and, in the sixth and 
seventh, set forth the progress of the German and Swiss Reformations, 
might be carried through the fruitful period from 1050-1517. 








EXILE. A D. 1294-1877. 


3. POPE BONIFACE VIII. 1294-1303 ...... 9 




7. THE PONTIFICATE OF JOHN XXII. 1316-1334 .... 60 





COUNCILS 1878-1449 


. 116 

151 THE COUNCIL OF PISA. 1409 . ... 
16" THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE. 1414-1418 .... 
17. THE COUNCIL OF BASEL. 1431-1449 

. 126 
. 138 
. 145 
. 167 
. 179 


19. SOURCES AND LITERATURE ........ 186 







26. POPULAR PREACHERS ......... 227 







31*. HENRY Suso 262 










40. JOHN WYCLIF 314 




44. JOHN Huss OF BOHEMIA ... .... 858 

45. Huss AT CONSTANCE 871 


47. THE HUSSITES .... 391 



49. NICOLAS V. 1447-1455 406 


61. PAUL II. 1464-1471 425 

62. SIXTUS IV. 1471-1484 429 

63. INNOCENT VIII. 1484-1402 436 

64. POPE ALEXANDER VI BORGIA. 1492-1503 . . . .443 
66. JULIUS II., THE WARRIOR-POPE. 1503-lol3 . . . .466 

66. LEO X. 1613-1521 479 












66. THE ARTISTS 698 









72. LITERATURE 651) 

73. THE CLERGY . 662 

74. PREACHING 671 

76. DOCTRINAL REFORMERS .... ... 680 

76." SAVONAROLA 684 







WICLIF Frontispiece 





POPE LEO X "480 







A.D. 1294-1517. 

1. Introductory Survey. 

THE two centuries intervening between 1294 and 1517, 
between the accession of Boniface VIII. and the nailing of 
Luther's Ninety-five Theses against the church door in Wit- 
tenberg, mark the gradual transition from the Middle Ages 
to modern times, from the universal acceptance of the papal 
theocracy in Western Europe to the assertion of national 
independence, from the supreme authority of the priesthood 
to the intellectual and spiritual freedom of the individual. 
Old things are passing away ; signs of a new order increase. 
Institutions are seen to be breaking up. The scholastic sys- 
tems of theology lose their compulsive hold on men's minds, 
and even become the subject of ridicule. The abuses of the 
earlier Middle Ages call forth voices demanding reform on 
the basis of the Scriptures and the common well-being of 
mankind. The inherent vital energies in the Church seek 
expression in new forms of piety and charitable deed. 

The power of the papacy, which had asserted infallibility 
of judgment and dominion over all departments of human 
life, was undermined by the mistakes, pretensions, and world- 
liness of the papacy itself, as exhibited in the policy of Boni- 

2 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

face VIII., the removal of the papal residence to Avignon, 
and the disastrous schism which, for nearly half a century, 
gave to Europe the spectacle of two, and at times three, 
popes reigning at the same time and all professing to be the 
vicegerents of God on earth. 

The free spirit of nationality awakened during the crusades 
grew strong and successfully resisted the papal authority, 
first in France and then in other parts of Europe. Princes 
asserted supreme authority over the citizens within their do- 
minions and insisted upon the obligations of churches to 
the state. The leadership of Europe passed from Germany 
to France, with England coming more and more into promi- 

The tractarian literature of the fourteenth century set 
forth the rights of man and the principles of common law in 
opposition to the pretensions of the papacy and the dogma- 
tism of the scholastic systems. Lay writers made themselves 
heard as pioneers of thought, and a practical outlook upon 
the mission of the Church was cultivated. With unexampled 
audacity Dante assailed the lives of popes, putting some of 
St. Peter's successors into the lowest rooms of hell. 

The Reformatory councils of Pisa, Constance, and Basel 
turned Europe for nearly fifty years, 1409-1450, into a plat- 
form of ecclesiastical and religious discussion. Though they 
failed to provide a remedy for the disorders prevailing in the 
Church, they set an example of free debate, and gave the 
weight of their eminent constituency to the principle that 
not in a select group of hierarchs does supreme authority 
in the Church rest, but in the body of the Church. 

The hopelessness of expecting any permanent reform from 
the papacy and the hierarchy was demonstrated in the last 
years of the period, 1460-1517, when ecclesiastical Rome 
offered a spectacle of moral corruption and spiritual fall 
which has been compared to the corrupt age of the Roman 

The religious unrest and the passion for a better state of 
affairs found expression in Wyclif, Huss, and other leaders 
who, by their clear apprehension of truth and readiness to 


stand by their public utterances, even unto death, stood far 
above their own age and have shone in all the ages since. 

While coarse ambition and nepotism, a total perversion of 
the ecclesiastical office and violation of the fundamental vir- 
tues of the Christian life held rule in the highest place of 
Christendom, a pure stream of piety was flowing in the 
Church of the North, and the mystics along the Rhine and 
in the Lowlands were unconsciously fertilizing the soil from 
which the Reformation was to spring forth. 

The Renaissance, or the revival of classical culture, un- 
shackled the minds of men. The classical works of antiq- 
uity were once more, after the churchly disparagement of a 
thousand years, held forth to admiration. The confines of 
geography were extended by the discoveries of the continent 
in the West. 

The invention of the art of printing, about 1440, forms an 
epoch in human advancement, and made it possible for the 
products of human thought to be circulated widely among 
the people, and thus to train the different nations for the 
new age of religious enfranchisement about to come, and 
the sovereignty of the intellect. 

To this generation, which looks back over the last four 
centuries, the discovery of America and the pathways to the 
Indies was one of the remarkable events in history, a surprise 
and a prophecy. In 1453, Constantinople easily passed into 
the hands of the Turk, and the Christian empire of the East 
fell apart. In the far West the beginnings of a new empire 
were made, just as the Middle Ages were drawing to a close. 

At the same time, at the very close of the period, under 
the direction and protection of the Church, an institution 
was being prosecuted which has scarcely been equalled in 
the history of human cruelty, the Inquisition, now papal, 
now Spanish, which punished heretics unto death in Spain 
and witches in Germany. 

Thus European society was shaking itself clear of long- 
established customs and dogmas based upon the infallibility 
of the Church visible, and at the same time it held fast to 
some of the most noxious beliefs and practices the Church had 

4 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

allowed herself to accept and propagate. It had not the 
original genius or the conviction to produce a new system of 
theology. The great Schoolmen continued to rule doctrinal 
thought. It established no new ecclesiastical institution of 
an abiding character like the canon law. It exhibited no 
consuming passion such as went out in the preceding period 
in the crusades and the activity of the Mendicant Orders. 
It had no transcendent ecclesiastical characters like St. Ber- 
nard and Innocent III. The last period of the Middle Ages 
was a period of intellectual discontent, of self-introspection, 
a period of intimation and of preparation for an order which 
it was itself not capable of begetting. 



A.D. 1294-1377. 

2. Sources and Literature. 

For works covering the entire period, see V. 1. 1-3, such as the col- 
lections of MANSI, MuRATOiti, and the Rolls Series ; Friedberg's Decretum 
Gratiani, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1870-1881; HEFELE-KNOPFLER : Concilienge- 
schichte; MIRBT: Qitellen zur Geschichte des Papstthums, 2d ed., 1901 ; the 
works of GREGOROVIUS and BRYCE, the General Church and Doctrinal His- 
HARNACK, LOOPS, and SEEBERG ; the Encyclopedias of HERZOO, WETZER- 
PUTZOER, Leipzig, HEUSSI and MLJLERT, TUbingen, 1905, and LABBERTON, 
New York. L. PASTOR Geschichte der Papste, etc., 4 vols., 4th ed., 1901- 
1906, and MANDELL CREIGHTON : History of the Papacy, etc., London, 1882- 
1894, also cover the entire period in the body of their works and their 
Introductory Chapters. There is no general collection of ecclesiastical authors 
for this period corresponding to Migne's Latin Patrology. 

For 8, 4. BONIFACE VIII. llegesta Bonifatii in POTTHAST : Regesta 
pontificum row., II., 1923-2024, 2133 sq./>s Registres de Boniface VIIL, 
ed. DIOARD, FAU^ON ET THOMAS, 7 Fasc., Paris, 1884-1903. Hist, eccles. of 
Ptolemaeus of Lucca, Vitce Pontif. of Bernardus Guidonis, Chron. Pontif. of 
Amalncus Auger, Hist, rerum in Italia gestarum of Ferretus Vicentinus, and 
Chronica universale of Villani, all in MURATORI : Eerum Ital. Scriptores, 
III. 670 sqq., X. 690 sqq., XI. 1202 sqq., XIII. 348 sqq. Selections from 
Villani, trans, by ROSE E. SELFE, ed. by P. H. WICKSTEED, Westminster, 
1897. FINKE : Aus den Tagen Bonifaz VIII. , Munster, 1902. Prints val- 
uable documents, pp. i-ccxi. Also Ada Aragonensia. Quellen . . . zur 
Kirchen und Kultiirgeschichte aus der diplomatischen Korrespondenz Jayme 
//., 1291-1327 ', 2 vols., Berlin, 1908. DOLLINGER : Beitrage zur politischen, 
kirchlichen und Culturgeschichte der letzten 6 Jahrh., 3 vols., Vienna, 1862- 
1882. Vol. III., pp. 347-363, contains a Life of Boniface drawn from the 
Chronicle of Orvieto by an eye-witness, and other documents. -DENIFLE : Die 
Denkschriften der Colonna gegen Bonifaz VIIL, etc., in Archiv fttr Lit. 
und Kirchengeschichte des M.A., 1892, V. 493 sqq. DANTE : Inferno, XIX. 
62 sqq., XXVII. 86 sqq. ; Paradiso, IX. 182, XXVII. 22, XXX. 147. 
MODERN WORKS. J. RUBKUS : Bonif. VIII. e familia Cajetanorum, 
Rome, 1651. Magnifies Boniface as an ideal pope. P. DUPUY : Hist, du dif~ 
ferend entre le Pape Bon. ft Philip le Bel, Paris, 1665. BAIL LET (a Jansen- 
ist) : Hist, des desmeles du Pape Bon. VIII. avec Philip le Bel, Paris, 1718. 


6 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1617. 

L. TOSTI: Storia di Bon. VIII. e de* suoi tempi, 2 vols., Rome, 1846. A 
glorification of Boniface. W. DRUM ANN: Oesch. Bonifatius VIIL, 2 vols., 
Konigsberg, 1862. CARDINAL WISEMAN : Pope Bon. VIIL in his Essays, 
III. 161-222. Apologetic. BOUTARIC : La France sous Philippe le Bel, 
Tans, 1861. R. HOLTZMANN : W.von Nogaret, Freiburg, 1898. E. RENAN: 
Guil de Nogaret, in Hist. Litt. de France, XXVII. 233 sq. ; also titudes sur 
la politique rel. du regne de Phil, le Bel, Paris, 1899. DOLLINOER : Anagni in 
Akad. Vortrdge, III. 223-244. HEINRICH FINKE (prof, in Freiburg) : as 
above. Also Papsttum und Untergang des Tempelordens, 2 vols., MUnster, 
1907. J. HALLER: Papsttum und Kirchenreform, Berlin, 1903. RICH. 
SCHOLZ : Die Publizistik zur Zeit Philipps des Schonen und Bonifaz VIIL, 
Stuttgart, 1903. The Ch. Histt. of GIESELER, HERGENROTHER-KIRSCH, 4th 
ed., 1904, II. 682-698, F. X. FUNK, 4th ed., 1902, HEFELE, 3d ed., 1902, 
K. MULLER, HEFELE-KNOPFLER : Conciliengeschichte, VI. 281-364. RANKE : 
Vnivers. Hist., IX. GREGOROVIUS : History of the City of Some, V. WAT- 
TBNBACH: Gesch. des rom. Papstthums, 2d ed., Berlin, 1870, pp. 211-226. 
G. B. ADAMS : Civilization during the Middle Ages, New York, 1894, ch. 
XIV. Art. Bonifatius by HAUCK in Herzog, III. 291-300. 

De monarchia, ed. by WITTE, Vienna, 1874 ; GIULIANI, Florence, 1878 ; 
MOORE, Oxford, 1894. Eng. trans, by F. C. CHURCH, together with the essay 
on Dante by his father, R. W. CHURCH, London, 1878 ; P. H. Wicksteed, Hull, 
1896 ; Aurelia Henry, Boston, 1904. Dante's De monarchia, Valla's De falsa 
donatione Constantini, and other anti-papal documents are given in De juris- 
dictione, auctoritate et prceeminentia imperiali, Basel, 1566. Many of the 
tracts called forth by the struggle between Boniface VIII. and Philip IV. are 
found in MELCHIOR GOLDAST : Monarchia S. Eomani wiperii, sive tractatus 
de jurisdictione imperiali seu regia et pontificia sen sacerdotali, etc., Han- 
over, 1610, pp. 766, Frankfurt, 1668. With a preface dedicated to the elector, 
John Sigismund of Brandenburg ; in DUPUY : Hist, du Differend, etc., Paris, 
1665, and in Finke and Scholz. See above. E. ZECK: De recuperatione 
terras Sanctce, Ein Traktat d. P. Dubois, Berlin, 1906. For summary and 
criticism, S. RIEZLER : Die literarischen Widersacher der Pdpste zur Zeit 
Ludwig des Balers, pp. 131-166. Leipzig, 1874. R. L. POOLE : Opposition to 
the Temporal Claims of the Papacy, in his Illustrations of the Hist, of Uded. 
Thought, pp. 266-281, London, 1884. FINKE: Ausden Tagen Bonifaz VIIL, 
pp. 169 sqq., etc. DENIFLE : Chartulanum Un. Parisiensis, 4 vols. 
HALLER: Papsttum. Artt. in Wetzer-Welte, Colonna, III. 667-671, and 
Johann von Paris, VI. 1744-1746, etc. RENAN: Pierre Dubois in Hist. 
Litt. de France, XXVI. 471-636. HERGENROTHER-KIRBCH : Kirchengesch., 
II. 754 sqq. 

gistre de Benolt XL, ed. C. GRANDJEAN. For Clement V., dementis papce V. 
regestum ed. cura et studio monachorum ord. 8. Benedicti, 9 vols., Rome, 
1885-1892. ETIENNE BALUZE: Vita paparum Avenoniensium 1805-1894, 
dedicated to Louis XIV. and placed on the Index, 2 vols., Paris, 1693. 
RAYNALDUS : ad annum, 1304 sqq., for original documents. W. H. BLISS : 
Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registries relating to Great Britain and 


Ireland, I. -IV., London, 1896-1902. GIOVANHI and MATTEO VILLANI: 
Hist, of Florence sive Chronica universalis, bks. VIII. sq.- M. TANOL: Die 
papstlichen Eegesta von Benedict XIL-ttregor XL, Innsbruck, 1898. 
MANSI : Condi., XXV. 368 sqq., 389 sqq. J. B. CHRISTOPHE : Hist, de la 
papaute pendant le XIV* siecle, 2 vols., Paris, 1853. C. VON HOFLER: Die 
avignonesischen Papste, Vienna, 1871. FAUOON: La libraire des papes 
d* Avignon, 2 vols., Paris, 1886 sq. M. SOUCHON : Die Papstwahlen von 
Bonifaz VIII.- Urban VI., Braunschweig, 1888. A. EITEL : D. Kirchenstaat 
unter Klemens V., Berlin, 1906. CLINTON LOCKE : Age of the Great West- 
ern Schism, pp. 1-99, New York, 1896. J. H. ROBINSON: Petrarch, New 
York, 1898. SCHWAB: J. Gerson, pp. 1-7. DOLLINGER-FRIEDRICH : Das 
Papstthum, Munich, 1892. PASTOR : Geschichte der Pdpste seit dem Ausgang 
de s M. A., 4 vols., 3d and 4th ed., 1901 sqq., I. 67-114. STUBBS: Const. Hist, 
of England. CAPES : The English Church in the 14th and 15th Centuries, 
London, 1900. WATTENBACH : Horn. Papstthum, pp. 226-241. HALLE R: 
Papsttum, etc. HEFELE-KNOPFLER : VI. 378-936. RANKE : Univers. Hist., 
KIRSCH, II. 737-776, MILLER, II. 16-42. EHRLE : Der Nachlass Clemens V. 
in Archiv fur Lit. u. Kirchengesch., V. 1-150. For the fall of the Templars, 
see for lit. V. 1. p. 301 sqq., and especially the works of BOUTARIC, PRUTZ, 
SCHOTTMITLLER, DoLLiNGER. FUNK in Wetzer-Welte, XI. 1311-1345. LEA : 
Inquisition, III. FINKE : Papsttum und Untergang des Tempelordens, 2 vols., 
1907. Vol. II. contains Spanish documents, hitherto unpublished, bearing 
on the fall of the Templars, especially letters to and from King Jayme of 
Aragon. They are confirmatory of former views. 

For 7. THE PONTIFICATE OF JOHN XXII. Lettres secretes et curiales 
du pape Jean XXII. relative a la France, ed. AUG. COULON, 3 Fasc , 1900 sq. 
Lettres communes de p. Jean XXIL, ed. MOLLAT, 3 vols., Paris, 1904-1906. 
J. GITERARD: Documents pontificeaux sur la Gascogne. Pontijicat de 
Jean XXIL, 2 vols., Paris, 1897-1903. B A LUZE : Vitce paparum. V. VE- 
LARQUE : Jean XXIL sa vie et ses oeuvres, Paris, 1883. J. SCHWALM, Appel- 
lation d. Konig Ludwigs des Baiern v. 1SS4, 1906. RIEZLER D. lit. 
Widersacher. Also Vatikanische Akten zur deutschen Gesch zur Zeit Lud- 
wigs des Bayern, Innsbruck, 1891. K. MOLLER : Der Kampf Ludwigs des 
Baiern mit der romischen Curie, 2 vols., Ttibingen, 1879 sq. EHRLE: Die 
Spirituallen, ihr Verhdltniss zum Franciskanerorden, etc., in Archiv fur Lit. 
und Kirchengesch., 1885, p. 609 sqq., 1886, p. 106 sqq., 1887, p. 563 sqq., 
1890. Also P. J. Olivi : S. Leben und s. Schriften, 1887, pp. 409-540. DOL- 
LINGER : Deutschlands Kampf mit dem Papstthum unter Ludwig dem Bayer 
in Akad. Vortrdge, I. 119-137. HKFELE : VI. 646-679. LEA : Inquisition, 
I. 242-304. The Artt. in Wetzer-Welte, Franziskanerorden, IV. 1650-1683, 
and Armut, I. 1394-1401. Artt. John XXIL in Herzog, IX. 267-270, and 
Wetzer-Welte, VIII. 828 sqq. HALLER: Papsttum, p. 91 sqq. STUBBS: 
Const. Hist, of England. GBEGOROVIUS, VI. PASTOR : I. 80 sqq. 

For 8. THE PAPAL OFFICE ASSAILED. Some of the tracts may be 
found in GOLDAST : Monarchia, Hanover, 1610, e.g. Marsiglius of Padua, 
U. 164-312 ; Ockam 1 s Octo qucestionum decisiones super potestate ac dig ni- 
tate papali, II. 740 sqq., and Dialogus inter magistrum et discipulum, etc., 

8 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

II., 399 sqq. Special edd. are given in the body of the chap, and may be 
found under Alvarus Pelagius, Marsiglius, etc. , in POTTHABT : Bibl. med. cevi. 
Un trattato inedito di Egidio Colonna : De ecclesice potestate, ed. G. U. OXILIA 
etG. BOFPITO, Florence, 1908, pp. Ixxxi, 172. SCHWAB: Gerson, pp. 24- 
28. MULLER: D. Kampf Ludwigs des Baiern. RIEZLER : Die lit. Wider- 
Backer der Papste, etc., Leipzig, 1874. MARCOUR : Antheil der Minoriten am 
Kampf zwischen Ludwig dem Baiern und Johann XXII., Emmerich, 1874. 
POOLS : The Opposition to the Temporal Claims of the Papacy , in Illust. of 
the Hist. ofMed. Thought, pp. 256-281. HALLER: Papsttum, etc., pp. 73- 
89. English trans, of Marsiglius of Padua, The Defence of Peace, by W. 
MARSHALL, London, 1535. M. BIRCK : Marsilio von Padua und Alvaro 
Pelayo uber Papst und Kaiser, Mtthlheiin, 1868. B. LABANCA, Prof . of 
Moral Philos. in the Univ. of Rome: Marsilio da Padova, rif or matore polit- 
ico e religioso, Padova, 1882, pp. 235. L. JOURDAN : titude sur Marsile de 
Padoue> Montauban, 1892. J. SULLIVAN : Marsig. of Padua, in Engl. Hist. 
Rev., 1905, pp. 293-307. An examination of the MSS. See also DOLLINGER- 
FRIEDRICH: Papstthum] Pastor, I. 82 sqq. ; Gregorovius, VI. 118 sqq., the 
Artt. in Wetzer-Welte, Alvarus Pelagius, I. 667 sq., Marsiglius, VIII., 
907-911, etc., and in Herzog, XII. 368-370, etc. N. VALOIS: Hist. Litt., 
Paris, 1900, XXIIL, 528-623, an Art. on the authors of the Defensor. 

Schatz, Bibliothek und Archw der Papste im 14ten Jahrh., in Archiv fur 
Lit. u. Kirchengesch., 1. 1-49, 228-365, also D. Nachlass Clemens V. und der 
in Betreff desselben von Johann XXIL gefuhrte Process, V. 1-166. PH. 
WOKER: Das kirchliche Finanzwesen der Papste, Nordlingen, 1878. M. 
TANGL : Das Taxenwesen der pdpstlichen Kanzlei vom ISten bis zur Mitte 
des 15ten Jahrh., Innsbruck, 1892. J. P. KIUSCII : Die papstl. Kollektorien 
in Deutschland im XlVten Jahrh., Paderborn, 1894 ; Die Finanzverwal- 
tung des Kardinalkollegiums im XIII. u. XlV.ten Jahrh., Munster, 1896; 
Die Ruckkehr der Papste Urban V. und Gregor XL von Avignon nach 
Horn. Auszuge aus den Kameralregistern des Vatikan. Archivs, Pader- 
born, 1898 ; Die papstl. Annaten in Deutschland im XIV. Jahrh. 1328-1360, 
Paderborn, 1903. P. M. BAUMGARTEN: Untersuchungen und Urkunden 
uber die Camera Collegii Cardinalium, 1295-1437, Leipzig, 1898. A. GOTT- 
LOB: Die papstl. Kreuzzugsteuern des ISten Jahrh., Heiligenstadt, 1892; 
Die Servitientaxe im ISten Jahrh., Stuttgart, 1903. EMIL GOELLER: 
Mittheilungen u. Untersuchungen Uber das papstl. Register und Kanzlei- 
wesen im 14ten Jahrh., Rome, 1904 ; D. Liber Taxarum d. papstl. Kammer. 
Eine Studie zu ihrer Entstehung u. Anlage, Rome, 1905, pp. 105. 
HALLER: Papsttum u. Kirchenreform ; also Aufzeichnungen uber den papstl. 
Haushalt aus Amgnonesischer Zeit; die Vertheilung der Seroitia minuta u. 
die Obligationen der Praelaten im ISten u. 14ten Jahrh. ; Die Ausfertigung 
der Provisionen, etc., all in Quellen u. Forschungen, ed. by the Royal Prus- 
sian Institute in Rome, Rome, 1897, 1898. C. Lux: Constitutionum apos- 
tolicarum de generali beneficiorum reservatione, 1265-1S78, etc., Wratislav, 
1904. A. SCHDLTE : Die Fuggerin Rom, 1496-162S, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1904. 
C. SAMARIN and G. MOLLAT : La Fiscalite pontif. en France au XIV* sitclc, 
Paris, 1905. P. THOMAN : Le droit de propriete des laiques sur les eglises 

3. POPE BONIFACE VIII. 1294-1803. 9 

et le patronat laique au moy. age, Paris, 1906. Also the work on Canon 
Law by T. HINSCUIUS, 6 vols., Berlin, 1869-1897, and . FRIEDBEHG, 6th ed., 
Leipzig, 1903. 

For 10. LATER AVIGNON POPES. Lettres des papes d' Avignon se rap- 
portant & la France, viz. Lettres communes de Benolt XII. , ed. J. M. 
VIDAL, Paris, 1905; Lettres closes, patentes et curiales, ed. G. DAUMET, 
Paris, 1890; Lettres . . . de Clement VI., ed. E. DEPHEZ, Paris, 1901 ; Ex- 
cerpta ex registr. de Clem. VI. et Inn. VI., ed. WERUNSKY, Innsbruck, 1885 ; 
Lettres . . . de Pape Urbain V., ed. P. LECACHEUX, Paris, 1902. -J. H. 
ALBANS : Actes anciens et documents concernant le bienheureux Urbain V., 
ed. by U. CHEVALIER, Paris, 1897. Contains the fourteen early lives of 
Urban. BALUZB : Vitce paparum Avenionensium t 1693; MURATORI: in 
Her. ital. scripp, XIV. 9-728. CERRI : Innocenzo VI., papa, Turin, 1878. 
MAGNAN: Hist, d 1 Urbain V., 2d ed., Paris, 1863. WERUNSKY : Gesch. 
Karls IV. u. seiner Zeit, 3 vols., Innsbruck, 1880-1892. GEO. SCHMIDT : Der 
hist. Werth der U alten Biographien des Urban V., Breslau, 1907. KIRSCH : 
Ruckkehr der Papste, as above. In large part, documents for the first time 
published. LECHNER: Das grosse Sterben in DeutsMand, 1348-1351, 1884. 
C. CREIGHTON : Hist, of Epidemics in England, CAMBRIDGE, 1891. F. A. 
GASQUET: The Great Pestilence, London, 1893, 2d ed., entitled The Black 
Death, 1908. A. JESSOPP: The Black Death in East Anglia in Coming of 
the Friars, pp. 166-261. VILLANI, WATTENBACH, p. 226 sqq. ; PASTOR, I., 
GREGOROVIUS, VI. WURM : Cardinal Albornoz, Paderborn, 1892. 

of Gregory XL inBaluz, I. 425 sqq., and MURATORI, III. 2, 645. KIRSCH: 
Ruckkehr, etc., as above. LEON MIROT : La politique pontif. et lerttourdu 
S. Siege a Home, 1S76, Paris, 1899. F. HAMMERICH: St. Brigitta, die nordische 
Prophetin u. Ordenstifterin, Germ, ed., Gotha, 1872. For further lit. on St. 
Brigitta, see HERZOG, III. 239. For works on Catherine of Siena, see 
ch. III. Also GIESELER, II., 3, pp. 1-131; PASTOR, I. 101-114; GREGO- 
ROVIUS, VI. Lit. under 10. 

3. Pope Boniface VIII. 1294-1303. 

The pious but weak and incapable hermit of Murrhone, Cce- 
lestine V., who abdicated the papal office, was followed by Bene- 
dict Gaetani, or Cajetan, the name of an ancient family of 
Latin counts, known in history as Boniface VIII. At the 
time of his election he was on the verge of fourscore, 1 but like 
Gregory IX. he was still in the full vigor of a strong intellect 

1 Drumann, p. 4, Gregorovius, etc. Setting aside the testimony of the con- 
temporary Ferretus of Vicenza, and on the ground that it would be well-nigh 
impossible for a man of Boniface's talent to remain in an inferior position till 
he was sixty, when he was made cardinal, Finke, p. 3 sq., makes Boniface fif- 
teen years younger when he assumed the papacy. 

10 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

and will. If Coelestine had the reputation of a saint, Boniface 
was a politician, overbearing, implacable, destitute of spiritual 
ideals, and controlled by blind and insatiable lust of power. 

Born at Anagni, Boniface probably studied canon law, in 
which he was an expert, in Rome. 1 He was made cardinal in 
1281, and represented the papal see in France and England 
as legate. In an address at a council in Paris, assembled 
to arrange for a new crusade, he reminded the mendicant 
monks that he and they were called not to court glory or 
learning, but to secure the salvation of their souls. 2 

Boniface's election as pope occurred at Castel Nuovo, near 
Naples, Dec. 24, 1294, the conclave having convened the day 
before. The election was not popular, and a few days later, 
when a report reached Naples that Boniface was dead, the peo- 
ple celebrated the event with great jubilation. The pontiff was 
accompanied on his way to Rome by Charles II. of Naples. 3 

The coronation was celebrated amid festivities of unusual 
splendor. On his way to the Lateran, Boniface rode on a white 
palfrey, a crown on his head, and robed in full pontificals. 
Two sovereigns walked by his side, the kings of Naples and 
Hungary. The Orsini, the Colonna, the Savelli, the Conti and 
representatives of other noble Roman families followed in a 
body. The procession had difficulty in forcing its way through 
the kneeling crowds of spectators. But, as if an omen of the 
coming misfortunes of the new pope, a furious storm burst 
over the city while the solemnities were in progress and extin- 
guished every lamp and torch in the church. The following 
day the pope dined in the Lateran, the two kings waiting 
behind his chair. 

While these brilliant ceremonies were going on, Peter of 
Murrhone was a fugitive. Not willing to risk the possible 
rivalry of an anti-pope, Boniface confined his unfortunate 

1 Not at Paris, as Bulaeus, without sufficient authority, states. See Finke, 
p. 6. 

9 Finke discovered this document and gives it pp. iii-vii. 

8 There is no doubt about the manifestation of popular joy over the rumor 
of the pope's death. Finke, p. 45. At the announcement of the election, the 
people are said to have cried out, " Boniface is a heretic, bad all through, 
and has in him nothing that is Christian. 11 

8. POPE BONIFACE VIII. 1294-1303. H 

predecessor in prison, where he soon died. The cause of his 
death was a matter of uncertainty. The Ccelestine party 
ascribed it to Boniface, and exhibited a nail which they de- 
clared the unscrupulous pope had ordered driven into Coeles- 
tine's head. 

With Boniface VIII. began the decline of the papacy. He 
found it at the height of its power. He died leaving it humbled 
and in subjection to France. He sought to rule in the proud, 
dominating spirit of Gregory VII. and Innocent III.; but he 
was arrogant without being strong, bold without being saga- 
cious, high-spirited without possessing the wisdom to discern 
the signs of the times. 1 The times had changed. Boniface 
made no allowance for the new spirit of nationality which had 
been developed during the crusading campaigns in the East, 
and which entered into conflict with the old theocratic ideal 
of Rome. France, now in possession of the remaining lands 
of the counts of Toulouse, was in no mood to listen to the dic- 
tation of the power across the Alps. Striving to maintain the 
fictitious theory of papal rights, and fighting against the spirit 
of the new age, Boniface lost the prestige the Apostolic See 
had enjoyed for two centuries, and died of mortification over 
the indignities heaped upon him by France. 

French enemies went so far as to charge Boniface with 
downright infidelity and the denial of the soul's immortality. 
The charges were a slander, but they show the reduced con- 
fidence which the papal office inspired. Dante, who visited 
Rome during Boniface's pontificate, bitterly pursues him in 
all parts of the Divina Commedia. He pronounced him "the 
prince of modern Pharisees," a usurper "who turned the 
Vatican hill into a common sewer of corruption." The poet 
assigned the pope a place with Nicholas III. and Clement V. 
among the simoniacs in " that most afflicted shade," one of 
the lowest circles of hell. 2 Its floor was perforated with 
holes into which the heads of these popes were thrust. 

i Gregorovius, V. 697, calls Boniface "an unfortunate reminiscence 1 ' of 
the great popes. 

* " Where Simon Magus hath his curst abode 

To depths profounder thrusting Boniface." Paradwo, zzx. 147 sq. 

12 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

" The soles of every one in flames were wrapt l 
. . . whose upper parts are thrust below 
Fixt like a stake, most wretched soul 

Quivering in air his tortured feet were seen." 

Contemporaries comprehended Boniface's reign in the descrip- 
tion, " He came in like a fox, he reigned like a lion, and he 
died like a dog, intravit ut vulpes, regnavit ut leo, mortuus est 
sicut canis. 

In his attempt to control the affairs of European states, he 
met with less success than failure, and in Philip the Fair of 
France he found his match. 

In Sicily, he failed to carry out his plans to secure the 
transfer of the realm from the house of Aragon to the king 
of Naples. 

In Rome, he incurred the bitter enmity of the proud and 
powerful family of the Colonna, by attempting to dictate the 
disposition of the family estates. Two of the Colonna, James 
and Peter, who were cardinals, had been friends of Coeles- 
tine, and supporters of that pope gathered around them. Of 
their number was Jacopone da Todi, the author of the Stabat 
Mater, who wrote a number of satirical pieces against Boni- 
face. Resenting the pope's interference in their private mat- 
ters, the Colonna issued a memorial, pronouncing Ccelestine's 
abdication and the election of Boniface illegal. 2 It exposed 
the haughtiness of Boniface, and represented him as boasting 
that he was supreme over kings and kingdoms, even in tem- 
poral affairs, and that he was governed by no law other than 
his own will. 8 The document was placarded on the churches 
and a copy left in St. Peter's. In 1297 Boniface deprived 
the Colonna of their dignity, excommunicated them, and pro- 
claimed a crusade against them. The two cardinals appealed 
to a general council, the resort in the next centuries of so 
many who found themselves out of accord with the papal 
plans. Their strongholds fell one after another. The last 
of them, Palestrina, had a melancholy fate. The two car- 

1 Inferno, xix. 46 sq. 118. * Dupuy, pp. 226-227. 

8 Super reges et reyna in temporalibus etiam presidere se glorians, etc., 
Scholz, p. 338. 

3. POPE BONIFACE VIII. 1294-1803. lg 

dinals with ropes around their necks threw themselves at the 
pope's feet and secured his pardon, but their estates were 
confiscated and bestowed upon the pope's nephews and the 
Orsini. The Colonna family recovered in time to reap a 
bitter vengeance upon their insatiable enemy. 

The German emperor, Albrecht, Boniface succeeded in 
bringing to an abject submission. The German envoys were 
received by the haughty pontiff seated on a throne with a 
crown upon his head and sword in his hand, and exclaiming, 
" I, I am the emperor." Albrecht accepted his crown as a 
gift, and acknowledged that the empire had been transferred 
from the Greeks to the Germans by the pope, and that the 
electors owed the right of election to the Apostolic See. 

In England, Boniface met with sharp resistance. Edward 
I., 1272-1307, was on the throne. The pope attempted to 
prevent him from holding the crown of Scotland, claiming it 
as a papal fief from remote antiquity. 1 The English parlia- 
ment, 1301, gave a prompt and spirited reply. The English 
king was under no obligation to the papal see for his tem- 
poral acts. 2 The dispute went no further. The conflict 
between Boniface and France is reserved for more prolonged 

An important and picturesque event of Boniface's pontifi- 
cate was the Jubilee Year, celebrated in 1300. It was a for- 
tunate conception, adapted to attract throngs of pilgrims to 
Rome and fill the papal treasury. An old man of 107 years 
of age, so the story ran, travelled from Savoy to Rome, and 
told how his father had taken him to attend a Jubilee in the 
year 1200 and exhorted him to visit it on its recurrence a cen- 
tury after. Interesting as the story is, the Jubilee celebration 
of 1300 seems to have been the first of its kind. 8 Boniface's 
bull, appointing it, promised full remission to all, being peni- 
tent and confessing their sins, who should visit St. Peter's 

i Tytler, Hist, of Scotland, I. 70 sqq. 

8 Edward removed from Scone to Westminster the sacred stone on which 
Scotch kings had been consecrated, and which, according to the legend, was 
the pillow on which Jacob rested at Bethel. 

8 So Hefele VI. 315, and other Roman Catholic historians. 

14 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

during the year 1300. l Italians were to prolong their sojourn 
80 days, while for foreigners 15 days were announced to be suf- 
ficient. A subsequent papal deliverance extended the benefits 
of the indulgence to all setting out for the Holy City who 
died on the way. The only exceptions made to these gra- 
cious provisions were the Colonna, Frederick of Sicily, and 
the Christians holding traffic with Saracens. The city wore 
a festal appearance. The handkerchief of St. Veronica, bear- 
ing the imprint of the Saviour's face, was exhibited. The 
throngs fairly trampled upon one another. The contempo- 
rary historian of Florence, Giovanni Villani, testifies from 
personal observation that there was a constant population in 
the pontifical city of 200,000 pilgrims, and that 30,000 people 
reached and left it daily. The offerings were so copious that 
two clerics stood day and night by the altar of St. Peter's 
gathering up the coins with rakes. 

So spectacular and profitable a celebration could not be 
allowed to remain a memory. The Jubilee was made a per- 
manent institution. A second celebration was appointed by 
Clement VI. in 1350. With reference to the brevity of human 
life and also to the period of our Lord's earthly career, Urban 
VI. fixed its recurrence every 33 years. Paul II., in 1470, 
reduced the intervals to 25 years. The twentieth Jubilee 
was celebrated in 1900, under Leo XIII. 2 Leo extended the 

* Potthast, 24017. The bull is reprinted by Mirbt, Quellen, p. 147 sq. The 
indulgence clause runs : non solum plenam sed largiorem immo plenissimam 
omnium suorum veniam peccatorum concedimus. Villani, VIII. 36, speaks 
of it as u a full and entire remission of all sins, both the guilt and the punish- 
ment thereof." 

8 Leo's bull, dated May 11, 1809, offered indulgence to pilgrims visiting the 
basilicas of St. Peter, the Lateran, and St. Maria Maggiore. A portion of 
the document runs as follows: "Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world, has 
chosen the city of Rome alone and singly above all others for a dignified 
and more than human purpose and consecrated it to himself. 11 The Jubilee 
was inaugurated by the august ceremony of opening the porta santa, the sacred 
door, into St. Peter's, which it is the custom to wall up after the celebration. 
The special ceremony dates from Alexander VI. and the Jubilee of 1600. Leo 
performed this ceremony in person by giving three strokes upon the door with 
a hammer, and using the words aperite mihi, open to me. The door symbolizes 
Christ, opening the way to spiritual benefits. 


offered benefits to those who had the will and not the ability to 
make the journey to Rome. 

For the offerings accruing from the Jubilee and for other 
papal moneys, Boniface found easy use. They enabled him to 
prosecute his wars against Sicily and the Colonna and to 
enrich his relatives. The chief object of his favor was his 
nephew, Peter, the second son of his brother Loffred, the 
Count of Caserta. One estate after another was added to this 
favorite's possessions, and the vast sum of more than $5,000,000 
was spent upon him in four years. 1 Nepotism was one of the 
offences for which Boniface was arraigned by his contempo- 

4. Boniface VIII. and Philip the Fair of France. 

The overshadowing event of Boniface's reign was his dis- 
astrous conflict with Philip IV. of France, called Philip the 
Fair. The grandson of Louis IX., this monarch was wholly 
wanting in the high spiritual qualities which had distin- 
guished his ancestor. He was able but treacherous, and utterly 
unscrupulous in the use of means to secure his ends. Un- 
attractive as his character is, it is nevertheless with him that 
the first chapter in the history of modern France begins. In 
his conflict with Boniface he gained a decisive victory. On 
a smaller scale the conflict was a repetition of the conflict be- 
tween Gregory VII, and Henry IV., but with a different end- 
ing. In both cases the pope had reached a venerable age, while 
the sovereign was young and wholly governed by selfish 
motives. Henry resorted to the election of an anti-pope. 
Philip depended upon his councillors and the spirit of the 
new French nation. 

The heir of the theocracy of Hildebrand repeated Hilde- 
brand's language without possessing his moral qualities. He 
claimed for the papacy supreme authority in temporal as well 

i See Gregorovius, V. 299, 684, who gives an elaborate list of the estates 
which passed by Boniface's grace into the hands of the Gaetani. Adam of Usk, 
Chronicon, 1377-1421, 2d ed., London, 1904, p. 259, " the fox, though ever 
greedy, ever remaineth thin, so Boniface, though gorged with simony, yet to 
his dying day was never filled. 11 

16 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

as spiritual matters. In his address to the cardinals against 
the Colonna he exclaimed : " How shall we assume to judge 
kings and princes, and not dare to proceed against a worm I 
Let them perish forever, that they may understand that the 
name of the Roman pontiff is known in all the earth and that 
he alone is most high over princes." l The Colonna, in one of 
their proclamations, charged Boniface with glorying that he is 
exalted above all princes and kingdoms in temporal matters, 
and may act as he pleases in view of the fulness of his power 
plenitudo potestatia. In his official recognition of the em- 
peror, Albrecht, Boniface declared that as *" the moon has no 
light except as she receives it from the sun, so no earthly power 
has anything which it does not receive from the ecclesiastical 
authority." These claims are asserted with most pretension 
in the bulls Boniface issued during his conflict with France. 
Members of the papal court encouraged him in these haughty 
assertions of prerogative. The Spaniard, Arnald of Villanova, 
who served Boniface as physician, called him in his writings 
lord of lords deus deorum. 

On the other hand, Philip the Fair stood as the embodiment 
of the independence of the state. He had behind him a unified 
nation, and around him a body of able statesmen and publicists 
who defended his views. 2 

The conflict between Boniface and Philip passed through 
three stages: (1) the brief tilt which called forth the bull 
Clericis laicos ; (2) the decisive battle, 1301-1303, ending in 
Boniface's humiliation at Anagni; (3) the bitter controversy 
which was waged against the pope's memory by Philip, ending 
with the Council of Vienne. 8 

1 Quomodo presumimus judicare reges et principes orbis terrarum et vermi- 
culum aggredi non audemus, etc. ; Denifle, Archiv, etc., V. 621. For these and 
other quotations, see Finke, Aus den Tagen Bon., etc., p. 152 sqq. 

9 Contemporary writers spoke of the modern or recent French nation as 
opposed to the nation of a preceding period. So the author of the Tractate 
of 1808 in defence of Boniface VIII., Finke, p. Ixxzvi. He said " the kings of 
the modern French people do not follow in the footsteps of their predecessors " 
reges moderni gentis Francorum, etc. The same writer compared Philip 
to Nebuchadnezzar rebelling against the higher powers. 

See Scholz, Publizistik, VIII. p. 3 sqq. 


The conflict originated in questions touching the war be- 
tween France and England. To meet the expense of his arma- 
ment against Edward I., Philip levied tribute upon the French 
clergy. They carried their complaints to Rome, and Boniface 
justified their contention in the bull Clericu laicos, 1296. 
This document was ordered promulged in England as well as 
in France. Robert of Winchelsea, archbishop of Canterbury, 
had it read in all the English cathedral churches. Its open- 
ing sentence impudently asserted that the laity had always 
been hostile to the clergy. The document went on to affirm 
the subjection of the state to the papal see. Jurisdiction over 
the persons of the priesthood and the goods of the Church in no 
wise belongs to the temporal power. The Church may make 
gratuitous gifts to the state, but all taxation of Church prop- 
erty without the pope's consent is to be resisted with excom- 
munication or interdict. 

Imposts upon the Church for special emergencies had been 
a subject of legislation at the third and fourth Lateran Coun- 
cils. In 1260 Alexander IV. exempted the clergy from 
special taxation, and in 1291 Nicolas IV. warned the king of 
France against using for his own schemes the tenth levied for a 
crusade. Boniface had precedent enough for his utterances. 
But his bull was promptly met by Philip with an act of re- 
prisal prohibiting the export of silver and gold, horses, arms, 
and other articles from his realm, and forbidding foreigners to 
reside in France. This shrewd measure cut off French con- 
tributions to the papal treasury and cleared France of the 
pope's emissaries. Boniface was forced to reconsider his posi- 
tion, and in conciliatory letters, addressed to the king and the 
French prelates, pronounced the interpretation put upon his 
deliverance unjust. Its purpose was not to deny feudal and 
freewill offerings from the Church. In cases of emergency, 
the pope would also be ready to grant special subsidies. The 
document was so offensive that the French bishops begged the 
pope to recall it altogether, a request he set aside. But to 
appease Philip, Boniface issued another bull, July 22, 1297, 
according thereafter to French kings, who had reached the age 
of 20, the right to judge whether a tribute from the clergy was 

18 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

a case of necessity or not. A month later he canonized Louis 
IX., a further act of conciliation. 

Boniface also offered to act as umpire between France and 
England in his personal capacity as Benedict Gaetanus. The 
offer was accepted, but the decision was not agreeable to the 
French sovereign. The pope expressed a desire to visit 
Philip, but again gave offence by asking Philip for a loan of 
100,000 pounds for Philip's brother, Charles of Valois, whom 
Boniface had invested with the command of the papal forces. 

In 1301 the flame of controversy was again started by a 
document, written probably by the French advocate, Pierre 
Dubois, 1 which showed the direction in which Philip's mind 
was working, for it could hardly have appeared without his 
assent. The writer summoned the king to extend his domin- 
ions to the walls of Rome and beyond, and denied the pope's 
right to secular power. The pontiff's business is confined to 
the forgiving of sins, prayer, and preaching. Philip continued 
to lay his hand without scruple on Church property ; Lyons, 
which had been claimed by the empire, he demanded as a part 
of France. Appeals against his arbitrary acts went to Rome, 
and the pope sent Bernard of Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, to 
Paris, with commission to summon the French king to apply 
the clerical tithe for its appointed purpose, a crusade, and for 
nothing else. Philip showed his resentment by having the 
legate arrested. He was adjudged by the civil tribunal a 
traitor, and his deposition from the episcopate demanded. 

Boniface's reply, set forth in the bull Ausculta fili Give 
ear, my son issued Dec. 5, 1301, charged the king with 
high-handed treatment of the clergy and making plunder 
of ecclesiastical property. The pope announced a council 
to be held in Rome to which the French prelates were 
called and the king summoned to be present, either in per- 
son or by a representative. The bull declared that God 
had placed his earthly vicar above kings and kingdoms. To 
make the matter worse, a false copy of Boniface's bull was 
circulated in France known as Deum time, Fear God, 

1 Summaria brevis et compendiosa doctrina felicis expeditionis et abbre- 
viationis guerrarum ac litium regni Francorum. See Scholz, p. 416. 


which made the statements of papal prerogative still more 
exasperating. This supposititious document, which is sup- 
posed to have been forged by Pierre Flotte, the king's chief 
councillor, was thrown into the flames Feb. 11, 1302. 1 Such 
treatment of a papal brief was unprecedented. It remained 
for Luther to cast the genuine bull of Leo X. into the fire. 
The two acts had little in common. 

The king replied by calling a French parliament of the 
three estates, the nobility, clergy and representatives of 
the cities, which set aside the papal summons to the council, 
complained of the appointment of foreigners to French liv- 
ings, and asserted the crown's independence of the Church. 
Five hundred years later a similar representative body of 
the three estates was to rise against French royalty and de- 
cide for the abolition of monarchy. In a letter to the pope, 
Philip addressed him as "your infatuated Majesty," 2 and 
declined all submission to any one on earth in temporal 

The council called by the pope convened in Rome the 
last day of October, 1302, and included 4 archbishops, 35 
bishops, and 6 abbots from France. It issued two bulls. 
The first pronounced the ban on all who detained prel- 
ates going to Rome or returning from the city. The sec- 
ond is one of the most notable of all papal documents, the 
bull Unam sanctam, the name given to it from its first words, 

1 See Scholz, p. 357. The authenticity of the bull Ausculta was once called 
in question, but is now universally acknowledged. The copy in the Vatican 
bears the erasure of Clement V., who struck out the passages most offensive 
to Philip. Hefele gives the copy preserved in the library of St. Victor. 

2 Sciat maxima tuafatuitas in temporalibus no* alicui non subcase, etc. 
Hefele, VI. 332, calls in question the authenticity of this document, at the 
same time recognizing that it was circulated in Rome in 1302, and that 
the pope himself made reference to it. The original phrase is ascribed to 
Pierre Flotte, Scholz, p. 357. Flotte was an uncompromising advocate of the 
king's sovereignty and independence of the pope. He made a deep impres- 
sion by an address at the parliament called by Philip, 1302. He was prob- 
ably the author of the anti-papal tract beginning Anteqpam essent clerici, 
the text of which is printed by Dupuy, pp. 21-23. Here he asserts that the 
Church consists of laymen as well as clerics, Scholz, p. 361, and that taxea 
levied upon Church property are not extortions. 

20 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

" We are forced to believe in one holy Catholic Church." It 
marks an epoch in the history of the declarations of the 
papacy, not because it contained anything novel, but because 
it set forth with unchanged clearness the stiffest claims of the 
papacy to temporal and spiritual power. It begins with the 
assertion that there is only one true Church, outside of which 
there is no salvation. The pope is the vicar of Christ, and 
whoever refuses to be ruled by Peter belongs not to the fold 
of Christ. Both swords are subject to the Church, the spirit- 
ual and the temporal. The temporal sword is to be wielded 
for the Church, the spiritual by it. The secular estate may 
be judged by the spiritual estate, but the spiritual estate by 
no human tribunal. The document closes with the startling 
declaration that for every human being the condition of sal- 
vation is obedience to the Roman pontiff. 

There was no assertion of authority contained in this bull 
which had not been before made by Gregory VII. and his 
successors, and the document leans back not only upon the 
deliverances of popes, but upon the definitions of theologians 
like Hugo de St. Victor, Bernard and Thomas Aquinas. 
But in the Unam sanctam the arrogance of the papacy finds 
its most naked and irritating expression. 

One of the clauses pronounces all offering resistance to 
the pope's authority Manichseans. Thus Philip was made a 
heretic. Six months later the pope sent a cardinal legate, 
John le Moine of Amiens, to announce to the king his excom- 
munication for preventing French bishops from going to 
Rome. The bearer of the message was imprisoned and the 
legate fled. Boniface now called upon the German emperor, 
Albrecht, to take Philip's throne, as Innocent III. had called 
upon the French king to take John's crown, and Innocent IV. 
upon the count of Artois to take the crown of Frederick II. 
Albrecht had wisdom enough to decline the empty gift. 
Philip's seizure of the papal bulls before they could be 
promulged in France was met by Boniface's announcement 
that the posting of a bull on the church doors of Rome was 
sufficient to give it force. 

The French parliament, June, 1303, passed from the nega- 


tive attitude of defending the king and French rights to an 
attack upon Boniface and his right to the papal throne. In 
20 articles it accused him of simony, sorcery, immoral inter- 
course with his niece, having a demon in his chambers, 
the murder of Coelestine, and other crimes. It appealed to 
a general council, before which the pope was summoned to 
appear in person. Five archbishops and 21 bishops joined in 
subscribing to this document. The university and chapter of 
Paris, convents, cities, and towns placed themselves on the 
king's side. 1 

One more step the pope was about to take when a sudden 
stop was put to his career. He had set the eighth day of 
September as the time when he would publicly, in the church 
of Anagni, and with all the solemnities known to the Church, 
pronounce the ban upon the disobedient king and release his 
subjects from allegiance. In the same edifice Alexander III. 
had excommunicated Barbarossa, and Gregory IX., Frederick 
II. The bull already had the papal signature, when, as by a 
storm bursting from a clear sky, the pope's plans were shat- 
tered and his career brought to an end. 

During the two centuries and a half since Hildebrand had 
entered the city of Rome with Leo IX., popes had been im- 
prisoned by emperors, been banished from Rome by its citi- 
zens, had fled for refuge and died in exile, but upon no one of 
them had a calamity fallen quite so humiliating and complete 
as the calamity which now befell Boniface. A plot, formed 
in France to checkmate the pope and to carry him off to a 
council at Lyons, burst Sept. 7 upon the peaceful population 
of Anagni, the pope's country seat. William of Nogaret, pro- 
fessor of law at Montpellier and councillor of the king, was 
the manager of the plot and was probably its inventor. Ac- 
cording to the chronicler, Villani, 2 Nogaret's parents were Ca- 
thari, and suffered for heresy in the flames in Southern France. 
He stood as a representative of a new class of men, laymen, 
who were able to compete in culture with the best-trained 

1 The university declared in favor of a general council June 21, 1303, 
Chartul. Univ. Par. II. 101 sq. 

8 VIII. 63. See Scholz, pp. 363-375, and Holtzmann : W. von Nogaret. 

22 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

ecclesiastics, and advocated the independence of the state. 
With him was joined Sciarra Colonna, who, with other mem- 
bers of his family, had found refuge in France, and was thirst- 
ing for revenge for their proscription by the pope. With a 
small body of mercenaries, 300 of them on horse, they suddenly 
appeared in Anagni. The barons of the Latium, embittered by 
the rise of the Gaetani family upon their losses, joined with the 
conspirators, as also did the people of Anagni. The palaces 
of two of Boniface's nephews and several of the cardinals were 
stormed and seized by Sciarra Colonna, who then offered the 
pope life on the three conditions that the Colonna be restored, 
Boniface resign, and that he place himself in the hands of the 
conspirators. The conditions were rejected, and after a delay 
of three hours, the work of assault and destruction was re- 
newed. The palaces one after another yielded, and the papal 
residence itself was taken and entered. The supreme pontiff, 
according to the description of Villani, 1 received the besiegers 
in high pontifical robes, seated on a throne, with a crown on 
his head and a crucifix and the keys in his hand. He proudly 
rebuked the intruders, and declared his readiness to die for 
Christ and his Church. To the demand that he resign the 
papal office, he replied, " Never; I am pope and as pope I will 
die." Sciarra was about to kill him, when he was intercepted 
by Nogaret's arm. The palaces were looted and the cathe- 
dral burnt, and its relics, if not destroyed, went to swell the 
booty. One of the relics, a vase said to have contained milk 
from Mary's breasts, was turned over and broken. The pope 
and his nephews were held in confinement for three days, the 

1 VIII. 63. Dollinger, whose account is very vivid, depends chiefly upon 
the testimony of three eye-witnesses, a member of the curia, the chronicler of 
Orvieto and Nogaret himself. He sets aside much of Villani's report, which 
Reumont, Wattenbach, Gregorovius, and other historians adopt. Dante and 
Villani, who both condemn the pope's arrogance and nepotism, resented the 
indignity put upon Boniface at Anagni, and rejoiced over his deliverance as of 
one who, like Christ, rose from the dead. Dante omits all reference to Sciarra 
Colonna and other Italian nobles as participants in the plot Dante's descrip- 
tion is given in Paradise, xx. 86 sqq. 

" I see the flower-de-luce Alagna [Anagni] enter, 
And Christ in his own vicar captive made." 


captors being undecided whether to carry Boniface away to 
Lyons, set him at liberty, or put him to death. Such was the 
humiliating counterpart to the proud display made at the 
pope's coronation nine years before ! 

In the meantime the feelings of the Anagnese underwent 
a change. The adherents of the Gaetani family rallied their 
forces and, combining together, they rescued Boniface and 
drove out the conspirators. Seated at the head of his palace 
stairway, the pontiff thanked God and the people for his de- 
liverance. " Yesterday," he said, " I was like Job, poor and 
without a friend. To-day I have abundance of bread, wine, 
and water." A rescuing party from Rome conducted the un- 
fortunate pope to the Holy City, where he was no longer his 
own master. 1 A month later, Oct. 11, 1303, his earthly ca- 
reer closed. Outside the death-chamber, the streets of the 
city were filled with riot and tumult, and the Gaetani and Co- 
lonna were encamped in battle array against each other in the 

Reports agree that Boniface's death was a most pitiable one. 
He died of melancholy and despair, and perhaps actually in- 
sane. He refused food, and beat his head against the wall. 
44 He was out of his head," wrote Ptolemy of Lucca, 2 and be- 
lieved that every one who approached him was seeking to put 
him in prison. 

Human sympathy goes out for the aged man of fourscore 
years and more, dying in loneliness and despair. But judg- 
ment comes sooner or later upon individuals and institutions 
for their mistakes and offences. The humiliation of Boniface 

1 Ferretus of Vicenza, Muratori : Scriptores, IX. 1002, reports that Boni- 
face wanted to be removed from St. Peter's to the Lateran, but the Colonna 
sent word he was in custody. 

2 Extra mentempositus. Ferretus relates that Boniface fell into a rage and, 
after gnawing his staff and striking his head against the wall, hanged himself. 
Viliani, VIII. 03, speaks of a " strange malady " begotten in the pope so that 
he gnawed at himself as if he were mad. The chronicler of Orvieto, see Dol- 
linger : Beitrage, etc., III. 353, says Boniface died weighed down by despon- 
dency and the infirmities of age, ubi tristitia et senectutis inflrmitate gravatus 
mortuus est. It is charitable to suppose that the pope's old enemy, the stone, 
returned to plague him, the malady from which the Spanish physician Arnald 
of Villanova had given him relief. See Finke, p. 200 sqq. 

24 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

was the long-delayed penalty of the sacerdotal pride of his 
predecessors and himself. He suffered in part for the hier- 
archical arrogance of which he was the heir and in part for 
his own presumption. Villani and other contemporaries rep- 
resent the pope's latter end as a deserved punishment for his 
unblushing nepotism, his pompous pride, and his implacable 
severity towards those who dared to resist his plans, and for 
his treatment of the feeble hermit who preceded him. One 
of the chroniclers reports that seamen plying near the Liparian 
islands, the reputed entrance to hell, heard evil spirits rejoic- 
ing and exclaiming, " Open, open; receive pope Boniface into 
the infernal regions." 

Catholic historians like Hergenrother and Kirsch, bound to 
the ideals of the past, make a brave attempt to defend Boni- 
face, though they do not overlook his want of tact and his 
coarse violence of speech. It is certain, says Cardinal 
Hergenrother, 1 " that Boniface was not ruled by unworthy 
motives and that he did not deviate from the paths of his 
predecessors or overstep the legal conceptions of the Middle 
Ages." Finke, also a Catholic historian, the latest learned 
investigator of the character and career of Boniface, acknowl- 
edges the pope's intellectual ability, but also emphasizes his 
pride and arrogance, his depreciation of other men, his disa- 
greeable spirit and manner, which left him without a personal 
friend, his nepotism and his avarice. He hoped, said a con- 
temporary, to live till " all his enemies were suppressed." 

In strong contrast to the common judgment of Catholic 
historians is the sentence passed by Gregorovius. " Boniface 
was devoid of every apostolical virtue, a man of passionate 
temper, violent, faithless, unscrupulous, unforgiving, filled 
with ambitions and lust of worldly power." And this will 
be the judgment of those who feel no obligation to defend 
the papal institution. 

1 Kirchengesch., II. 597 sq. Boniface called the French "dogs" and 
Philip gar^on, which had the meaning of street urchin. A favorite expres- 
sion with him was ribaldus, rascal, and he called Charles of Naples " meanest 
of rascals/' vilissimus ribaldus. See Finke, p. 202 sq. Finke's judgment is 
based in part upon new documents he found in Barcelona and other libraries. 


In the humiliation of Boniface VIII., the state gained a 
signal triumph over the papacy. The proposition, that the 
papal pretension to supremacy over the temporal power is 
inconsistent with the rights of man and untaught by the law 
of God, was about to be defended in bold writings coming 
from the pens of lawyers and poets in France and Italy and, 
a half century later, by Wyclif. These advocates of the 
sovereign independence of the state in its own domain were 
the real descendants of those jurisconsults who, on the plain 
of Roncaglia, advocated the same theory in the hearing of 
Frederick Barbarossa. Two hundred years after the conflict 
between Boniface and Philip the Fair, Luther was to fight 
the battle for the spiritual sovereignty of the individual 
man. These two principles, set aside by the priestly pride 
and theological misunderstanding of the Middle Ages, belong 
to the foundation of modern civilization. 

Boniface's Bull, Unam Sanctam. 

The great importance of Boniface's bull, Unam Sanctam, issued against 
Philip the Fair, Nov. 18, 1302, justifies its reproduction both in transla- 
tion and the original Latin. It has rank among the most notorious deliver- 
ances of the popes and is as full of error as was Innocent VIII. 's bull issued 
in 1484 against witchcraft. It presents the theory of the supremacy of the 
spiritual power over the temporal, the authority of the papacy over princes, 
in its extreme form. The following is a translation : 

Boniface, Bishop, Servant of the servants of God. For perpetual remem- 
brance : 

Urged on by our faith, we are obliged to believe and hold that there is 
one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. And we firmly believe and profess 
that outside of her there is no salvation nor remission of sins, as the bridegroom 
declares in the Canticles, "My dove, my undefiled, is but one; she is the 
only one of her mother ; she is the choice one of her that bare her. 1 ' And 
this represents the one mystical body of Christ, and of this body Christ is 
the head, and God is the head of Christ. In it there is one Lord, one faith, 
one baptism. For in the time of the Flood there was the single ark of Noah, 
which prefigures the one Church, and it was finished according to the measure 
of one cubit and had one Noah for pilot and captain, and outside of it every 
living creature on the earth, as we read, was destroyed. And this Church 
we revere as the only one, even as the Lord saith by the prophet, "Deliver 
my soul from the sword, my darling from the power of the dog." He prayed 
for his soul, that is, for himself, head and body. And this body he called 
one body, that is, the Church, because of the single bridegroom, the unity of 

26 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

the faith, the sacraments, and the love of the Church. She is that seamless 
shirt of the Lord which was not rent but was allotted by the casting of lots. 
Therefore, this one and single Church has one head and not two heads, for 
had she two heads, she would be a monster, that is, Christ and Christ's 
Ticar, Peter and Peter's successor. For the Lord said unto Peter, " Feed 
my sheep. " * My," he said, speaking generally and not particularly, u these 
and those, 11 by which it is to be understood that all the sheep are committed 
unto him. So, when the Greeks or others say that they were not committed 
to the care of Peter and his successors, they must confess that they are not 
of Christ's sheep, even as the Lord says in John, " There is one fold and one 
shepherd. 11 

That in her and within her power are two swords, we are taught in the 
Gospels, namely, the spiritual sword and the temporal sword. For when the 
Apostles said, " Lo, here, 11 that is, in the Church, are two swords, the Lord 
did not reply to the Apostles " it is too much," but " it is enough. 11 It is 
certain that whoever denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter, 
hearkens ill to the words of the Lord which he spake, "Put up thy sword 
into its sheath. 11 Therefore, both are in the power of the Church, namely, 
the spiritual sword and the temporal sword ; the latter is to be used for the 
Church, the former by the Church ; the former by the hand of the priest, 
the latter by the hand of princes and kings, but at the nod and sufferance of 
the priest. The one sword must of necessity be subject to the other, and the 
temporal authority to the spiritual. For the Apostle said, " There is no 
power but of God, and the powers that be are ordained of God " ; and they 
would not have been ordained unless one sword had been made subject to 
the other, and even as the lower is subjected by the other for higher things. 
For, according to Dionysius, it is a divine law that the lowest things are 
made by mediocre things to attain to the highest. For it is not according to 
the law of the universe that all things in an equal way and immediately 
should reach their end, but the lowest through the mediocre and the lower 
through the higher. But that the spiritual power excels the earthly power 
in dignity and worth, we will the more clearly acknowledge just in proportion 
as the spiritual is higher than the temporal. And this we perceive quite dis- 
tinctly from the donation of the tithe and functions of benediction and 
sanctification, from the mode in which the power was received, and the gov- 
ernment of the subjected realms. For truth being the witness, the spiritual 
power has the functions of establishing the temporal power and sitting in 
judgment on it if it should prove to be not good. 1 And to the Church and 
the Church's power the prophecy of Jeremiah attests: " See, I have set thee 
this day over the nations and the kingdoms to pluck up and to break down 
and to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant. 11 

And if the earthly power deviate from the right path, it is judged by the 
spiritual power ; but if a minor spiritual power deviate from the right path, 
the lower in rank is judged by its superior ; but if the supreme power [the 
papacy] deviate, it can be judged not by man but by God alone. And so the 

1 This passage is based almost word for word upon Hugo de St. Victor, 
De Sacramenti*, II. 2, 4. 


Apostle testifies, " He which is spiritual judges all things, but he himself is 
judged by no man. 1 ' But this authority, although it be given to a man, and 
though it be exercised by a man, is not a human but a divine power given by 
divine word of mouth to Peter and confirmed to Peter and to his successors 
by Christ himself, whom Peter confessed, even him whom Christ called the 
Rock. For the Lord said to Peter himself, " Whatsoever thou shalt bind on 
earth," etc. Whoever, therefore, resists this power so ordained by God, re- 
sists the ordinance of God, unless perchance he imagine two principles to 
exist, as did Manichaaus, which we pronounce false and heretical. For Moses 
testified that God created heaven and earth not in the beginnings but " in the 
beginning.' 1 

Furthermore, that every human creature is subject to the Roman pontiff, 
this we declare, say, define, and pronounce to be altogether necessary to 

Bonifatius, Episcopus, Servus servorum Dei. Adfuturam rei memoriam. 1 

Unam sanctam ecclesiam catholicam et ipsam apostolicam urgente fide 
credere cogimur et tenere, nosque hanc firmiter credimus et simpliciter con- 
fitemur, extra quam nee solus est, nee remissio peccatorum, sponso in Can- 
ticis prodamante : Una est columba mea, perfecta mea. Una est matris SUCK, 
electa genetnci SUCK [Cant. 6:9]. Quce unum corpus mysticum reprcesentat, 
cujus caput Christus, Chnsti vero Deus. In qua unus Dominus, una fides, 
unum baptisma. Una nempe fuit diluvii tempore area Not, unam ecclesiam 
proeflgurans, quce in uno cubito consummata unum, Noe videlicet, guberna- 
torem habuit et rectorem, extra quam omnia subsistentia super terram legimus 
fuisse deleta. 

Hanc autem veneramur et unicam, dicente Domino in Propheta : Erue a 
framea, Deus, animam meam et de manu cams unicam me am. [Psalm 
22 : 20.] Pro anima enim, id est, pro se ipso, capite simul oravit et corpore. 
Quod corpus unicam scilicet ecclesiam nominavit, propter sponsi, fidei, sacra- 
mentorum et cantatis ecclesice unitatem. Hcec est tunica ilia Domini incon- 
sutilis, quce scissa nonfuit, sed sorte provenit. [John 19.] 

Igitur ecclesice unius et unices unum corpus, unum caput, non duo capita, 
quasi monstrum, Christus videlicet et Christi vicarius, Petrus, Petrique suc- 
cessor, dicente Domino ipsi Petro: Pasce oves meas. [John 21 :17.] Meas, 
inquit, generahter, non singulanter has vel illas : per quod commisisse sibi 
intelligitur universas. Sive ergo Greed sive alii se dicant Petro ejusque suc- 
cessoribus non esse commissos : fateantur necesse est, se de ombus Christi 
non esse, dicente Domino in Joanne, unum ovile et unicum esse pastorem. 
[John 10: 16.] 

In hac ejusque potestate duos esse gladios, spiritualem videlicet et tempo- 
ralem, evangelicis dictis instruimur. Nam dicentibus Apostolis : Ecce gladit 
duo hie [Luke 22 : 38], in ecclesia scilicet, cum apostoli loquerentur, non re- 
spondit Dominus, nimis esse, sed satis. Certe qui in potestate Petri tempora- 
lem gladium esse negat, male verbum attendit Domini proferentis : Converte 
gladium tuum in vaginam. [Matt. 26:62.] Uterque ergo est in potestate 

* The text is taken from W. Rttmer : Die Bulle, unam sanctam, Schaff- 
hausen, 1889. See also Mirbt : Ouellen. n. Uft n 

28 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

ecclesias, spiritualis scilicet gladius et materialis. Sed is quidem pro ecclesia^ 
Hit vero ab ecclesia exercendus, ille sacerdotis, is manu regum et militum, 
sed ad nutwn etpatientiam sacerdotis. 

Oportet autem gladium esse sub gladio, et temporalem auctoritatem spir- 
ituall subjici potestati. Nam cum dicat Apostolus : Non est potestas nisi a 
Deo; qua autem sunt, a Deo ordinata sunt [Rom. 13 : 1], non autem ordi- 
nata essent, nisi gladius esset sub gladio, et tanquam inferior reduceretur per 
alium in suprema. Nam secundum B. Dionysium lex divinitatis est, infima 
per media in suprema reduci. . . . Sic de ecclesia et ecclesiastica potestate 
veriflcatur vaticinium Hieremice [Jer. 1 : 10] : Ecce constitui te hodie super 
gentes et regna et cetera, quce sequuntur. 

Ergo, si deviat terrena potestas, judicabitur a potestate spirituaU ; sed, si 
deviat spiritualis minor, a suo superiori ; si vero suprema, a solo Deo, non 
ab homine poteritjudicari, testante Apostolo : Spiritualis homo judicat omnia, 
ipse autem a nemine judicatur. [1 Cor. 2 : 15.] Est autem hcec anctoritas, 
etsi data sit homini, et exerceatur per hominem, non humana, sed potius 
divina potestas, ore divino Petro data, sibique suisque successoribus in ipso 
Christo, quern confessus fuit, petra Jlrmata, dicente Domino ipsi Petro : 
Quodcunque ligaveris, etc. [Matt. 16 : 19.] Quicunque igitur huic potestati 
a Deo sic ordinatce resist it, Dei ordinationi resistit, nisi duo, sicut Mani- 
chceus, fingat esse principia, quodfalsum et hcereticum judicamns, quia, tea- 
tante Moyse, non in principiis, sed in principio codum Deus creavit et terram. 
[Gen. 1:1.] 

Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanas creaturce declaramus 
dicimus, dejlnimus et pronunciamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis. 

The most astounding clause of this deliverance makes subjection to the 
pope an essential of salvation for every creature. Some writers have made 
the bold attempt to relieve the language of this construction, and refer it to 
princes and kings. So fair and sound a Roman Catholic writer as Funk 1 
has advocated this interpretation, alleging in its favor the close connection 
of the clause with the previous statements through the particle porro, further- 
more, and the consideration that the French people would not have resented 
the assertion that obedience to the papacy is a condition of salvation. But 
the overwhelming majority of Catholic historians take the words in their 
natural meaning. 3 The expression "every human creature 1 ' would be a 

*In his Kirchengeschichtliche Abhandlungen, I. 483-489. This view is 
also taken by J. Berchtold : Die Bulle Unam sanctam ihre wahre Bedeutung 
und Tragweite fur Staat und Kirche, Munich, 1887. An attempt was made 
by Abbe* Mury, La Bulle Unam sanctam, in Rev. des questions histor. 1879, 
on the ground of the bull's stinging affirmations and verbal obscurities to 
detect the hand of a forger, but Cardinal Hergenrbther, Kirchengesch., II. 
594, pronounces the genuineness to be above dispute. 

8 So Hergenrttther-Kirsch, Hefele-KnSpfler : Kirchengesch. , p. 880, and 
Conciliengesch., VI. 849 sq. Every Jarriter on Boniface VIII. and Philip the 
Fair discusses the meaning of Boniface's deliverance. Among the latest is 
W. Joos : Die Bulle Unam sanctam, Schaffhausen, 1896. Finke : Aus den 
Tagen Bonifaz VIII., p. 146 sqq., C-CXLVI. Scholz : Publizistik, p. 197 sqq. 


most unlikely one to be used as synonymous with temporal rulers. Boniface 
made the same assertion in a letter to the duke of Savoy, 1300, when he 
demanded submission for every mortal, omnia anima. -flSgidius Colonna 
paraphrased the bull in these words, "the supreme pontiff is that authority 
to which every soul must yield subjection." 1 That the mediaeval Church 
accepted this construction is vouched for by the Fifth Lateran Council, 
1516, which, in reaffirming the bull, declared " it necessary to salvation 
that all the faithful of Christ be subject to the Roman pontiff. 11 2 

5. Literary Attacks against the Papacy. 

Nothing is more indicative of the intellectual change go- 
ing on in Western Europe in the fourteenth century than the 
tractarian literature of the time directed against claims made 
by the papacy. Three periods may be distinguished. In the 
first belong the tracts called forth by the struggle of Philip 
the Fair and Boniface VIII., with the year 1302 for its centre. 
Their distinguishing feature is the attack made upon the 
pope's jurisdiction in temporal affairs. The second period 
opens during the pontificate of John XXII. and extends from 
1320-1340. Here the pope's spiritual supremacy was at- 
tacked. The most prominent writer of the time was Mar- 
siglius of Padua. The third period begins with the papal 
schism toward the end of the fourteenth century. The 
writers of this period emphasized the need of reform in the 
Church and discussed the jurisdiction of general councils as 
superior to the jurisdiction of the pope. 8 

The publicists of the age of Boniface VIII. and Philip the 
Fair now defended, now openly attacked the mediaeval theory 
of the pope's lordship over kings and nations. The body of 
literature they produced was unlike anything which Europe 

1 Summus pontifex . . . est ilia potestas cui omnis anima debet esse 

2 De necessitate esse salutis omnes Christi fldeles romam pontiflei subesse. 
The writer in Wetzer-Welte, XII. 229 sqq., pronounces the view impossible 
which limits the meaning of the clause to temporal rulers. 

8 1 have followed closely in this chapter the clear and learned presentations 
of Richard Scholz and Finke and the documents they print as well as the 
documents given by Goldast. See below. A most useful contribution to the 
study of the age of Boniface VIII. and the papal theories current at the time 
would be the publication of the tracts mentioned in this section and others 
in a single volume. 

30 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

had seen before. In the conflict between Gregory IX. and 
Frederick II., Europe was filled with the epistolary appeals of 
pope and emperor, who sought each to make good his case 
before the court of European public opinion, and more espe- 
cially of the princes and prelates. The controversy of this 
later time was participated in by a number of writers who 
represented the views of an intelligent group of clerics and 
laymen. They employed a vigorous style adapted to make 
an impression on the public mind. 

Stirred by the haughty assertions of Boniface, a new class 
of men, the jurisconsults, entered the lists and boldly called 
in question the old order represented by the policy of Hilde- 
brand and Innocent III. They had studied in the universi- 
ties, especially in the University of Paris, and some of them, 
like Dubois, were laymen. The decision of the Bologna 
jurists on the field of Roncaglia was reasserted with new 
arguments and critical freedom, and a step was taken far in 
advance of that decision which asserted the independence of 
the emperor. The empire was set aside as an antiquated insti- 
tution, and France and other states were pronounced sovereign 
within their own limits and immune from papal dominion over 
their temporal affairs. The principles of human law and the 
natural rights of man were arrayed against dogmatic asser- 
tions based upon unbalanced and false interpretations of 
Scripture. The method of scholastic sophistry was largely 
replaced by an appeal to common sense and regard for the 
practical needs of society. The authorities used to establish 
the new theory were Aristotle, the Scriptures and historic 
facts. These writers were John the Baptists preparing the 
way for the more clearly outlined and advanced views of Mar- 
siglius of Padua and Ockam, who took the further step of 
questioning or flatly denying the pope's spiritual supremacy, 
and for the still more advanced and more spiritual appeals of 
Wyclif and Luther. A direct current of influence can be 
traced back from the Protestant Reformation to the anti-papal 
tracts of the first decade of the fourteenth century. 

The tract writers of the reign of Philip the Fair, who de- 
fended the traditional theory of the pope's absolute suprem- 


acy in all matters, were the Italians -32gidius Colonna, James 
of Viterbo, Henry of Cremona, and Augustinus Triumphus. 
The writers who attacked the papal claim to temporal power 
are divided into two groups. To the first belongs Dante, who 
magnified the empire and the station of the emperor as the 
supreme ruler over the temporal affairs of men. The men of 
the second group were associated more or less closely with 
the French court and were, for the most part, Frenchmen. 
They called in question the authority of the emperor. Among 
their leaders were John of Paris and Peter Dubois. In a 
number of cases their names are forgotten or uncertain, while 
theii* tracts have survived. It will be convenient first to take 
up the theory of Dante, and then to present the views of papal 
and anti-papal writings which were evidently called forth by 
the struggle started by Boniface. 

Dante was in nowise associated with the court of Philip 
the Fair, and seems to have been moved to write his treatise 
on government, the De monarchic by general considerations 
and not by any personal sympathy with the French king. 
His theory embodies views in direct antagonism to those 
promulged in Boniface's bull Unam sanctam^ and Thomas 
Aquinas, whose theological views Dante followed, is here 
set aside. 1 The independence and sovereignty of the civil 
estate is established by arguments drawn from reason, 
Aristotle, and the Scriptures. In making good his position, 
the author advances three propositions, devoting a chapter to 
each : (1) Universal monarchy or empire, for the terms are 
used synonymously, is necessary. (2) This monarchy be- 
longs to the Roman people. (3) It was directly bequeathed 
to the Romans by God, and did not come through the media- 
tion of the Church. 

1 The date of the De monarchia is a matter of uncertainty. There are no 
references in the treatise to Dante's own personal affairs or the contemporary 
events of Europe to give any clew. Witte, the eminent Dante student, put 
it in 1301; so also R. W. Church, on the ground that Dante makes no refer- 
ence to his exile, which began in 1301. The tendency now is to follow 
Boccaccio, who connected the treatise with the election of Henry VII. or 
Henry's journey to Rome, 1811. The treatise would then be a manifesto for 
the restoration of the empire to its original authority. For a discussion of 
the date, see Henry: Dante's de monarchia, XXXII. sqq. 

82 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

The interests of society, so the argument runs, require an 
impartial arbiter, and only a universal monarch bound by no 
local ties can be impartial. A universal monarchy will bring 
peace, the peace of which the angels sang on the night of 
Christ's birth, and it will bring liberty, God's greatest gift 
to man. 1 Democracy reduces men to slavery. The Romans 
are the noblest people and deserve the right to rule. This 
is evident from the fine manhood of -33neas, their progeni- 
tor, 2 from the evident miracles which God wrought in their 
history and from their world-wide dominion. This right 
to rule was established under the Christian dispensation by 
Christ himself, who submitted to Roman jurisdiction in con- 
senting to be born under Augustus and to suffer under Ti- 
berius. It was attested by the Church when Paul said to 
Festus, "I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to 
be judged," Acts 25 : 10. There are two governing agents 
necessary to society, the pope and the emperor. The emperor 
is supreme in temporal things and is to guide men to eternal 
life in accordance with the truths of revelation. Neverthe- 
less, the emperor should pay the pope the reverence which a 
first-born son pays to his father, such reverence as Charle- 
magne paid to Leo III. 8 

In denying the subordination of the civil power, Dante 
rejects the figure comparing the spiritual and temporal 
powers to the sun and moon, 4 and the arguments drawn from 
the alleged precedence of Levi over Judah on the ground of 

1 Libertus est maximum donum humane^ natures a Deo collatum, 1. 14. It 
is a striking coincidence that Leo XIII. began his encyclical of June 20, 
1888, with these similar words, libertas praestantissimum natures donum, 
" liberty, the most excellent gift of nature/ 1 

2 ii. 3. Dante appeals to the testimony of Virgil, his guide through hell and 
purgatory. He also quotes Virgil's proud lines : 

"Tw regere imperil populos, Romans, memento. 
HCBC tibi erunt artes, pacisque imponere morem 
Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos." 

Roman, remember that it was given to thee to rule the nations. Thine it 
is to establish peace, spare subject peoples and war against the proud. 
ii. 12, 13 ; iii. 13, 16. 

4 This last section of the book has the heading auctoritatem imperil im- 
mediate dependere a Deo. 


the priority of Levi's birth ; from the oblation of the Magi 
at the manger and from the sentence passed upon Saul by 
Samuel. He referred the two swords both to spiritual func- 
tions. Without questioning the historical occurrence, he set 
aside Constantino's donation to Sylvester on the ground that 
the emperor no more had the right to transfer his empire in 
the West than he had to commit suicide. Nor had the pope 
a right to accept the gift. 1 In the Inferno Dante applied to 
that transaction the oft-quoted lines : 2 

" Ah, Constantino, of how much ill was cause, 
Not thy conversion, but those rich domains 
Which the first wealthy pope received of thee." 

The Florentine poet's universal monarchy has remained an 
ideal unrealized, like the republic of the Athenian philoso- 
pher. 8 Conception of popular liberty as it is conceived in this 
modern age, Dante had none. Nevertheless, he laid down the 
important principle that the government exists for the peo- 
ple, and not the people for the government. 4 

The treatise De monarchia was burnt as heretical, 1329, by 
order of John XXII. and put on the Index by the Council of 
Trent. In recent times it has aided the Italian patriots in 
their work of unifying Italy and separating politics from the 
Church according toCavour's maxim, " a free Church in a free 

In the front rank of the champions of the temporal power 
of the papacy stood J2gidius Colonna, called also ^Egidius 
Roman us, 1247-1316. 6 He was an Augustinian, and rose to 

1 iii. 10, Constantinus alienare non poterat imperil dignitatem nee ecclesia 

8 xix. 115 sqq. Ahi, Constantly di quanto malfu matre, 
Non la tua conversion, ma quella dote 
Che da te prese il primo ricco padre ! 

In the Purgatorio, xvi. 106-112, Dante deplores the union of the crozier 
and the sword. 

8 With reference to the approaching termination of the emperor's influence 
in Italian affairs, Bryce, ch. XV., sententiously says that Dante's De monar- 
chia was an epitaph, not a prophecy. 

* Non cives propter consults nee gens propter regem Bed e converso con- 
sules propter cives, rex propter gentem, iii. 14. 

6 Scholz, pp. 32-129. 

84 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

be general of his order. He became famous as a theological 
teacher and, in 1287, his order placed his writings in all its 
schools. 1 In 1295 he was made archbishop of Bourges, Boni- 
face setting aside in his favor the cleric nominated by Coe- 
lestine. JEgidius participated in the council in Rome, 1301, 
which Philip the Fair forbade the French prelates to attend. 
He was an elaborate writer, and in 1304 no less than 12 of his 
theological works and 14 of his philosophical writings were 
in use in the University of Paris. 

The tract by which ^Egidius is chiefly known is his Power 
of the Supreme Pontiff De ecclesiastica sive de summi pon- 
tificis potentate. It was the chief work of its time in defence 
of the papacy, and seems to have been called forth by the 
Roman Council and to have been written in 1301. 2 It was 
dedicated to Boniface VIII. Its main positions are the 
following : 

The pope judges all things and is judged by no man, 1 
Cor. 2 : 15. To him belongs plenary power, plenitude potet- 
tatis. This power is without measure, without number, and 
without weight. 8 It extends over all Christians. The pope 
is above all laws and in matters of faith infallible. He is like 
the sea which fills all vessels, like the sun which, as the uni- 
versally active principle, sends his rays into all things. The 
priesthood existed before royalty. Abel and Noah, priests, 
preceded Nimrod, who was the first king. As the government 
of the world is one and centres in one ruler, God, so in the 
affairs of the militant Church there can be only one source 
of power, one supreme government, one head to whom belongs 

1 Chartul. Univ. Paris., II. 12. 

3 Jourdain, in 1858, was the first to call attention to the manuscript, and 
Kraus the first to give a summary of its positions in the CEsterr. Viertel- 
jahrsschrift, Vienna, 1862, pp. 1-33. Among -ffigidius' other tracts is the 
" Rule of Princes,' 1 De regimine principum 1286, printed 1473. It was at 
once translated into French and Italian and also into Spanish, Portuguese, 
English, and even Hebrew. The " Pope's Abdication " De renunciatione 
papa sive apologia pro Bonifacio VIII. 1297, was a reply to the manifesto 
of the Colonna, contesting a pope's right to resign his office. For a list of 
-fflgidius' writings, see art. Colonna ^Egidius, in Wetzer-Welte, III. 667-671. 
See Scholz, pp. 46, 126. 

8 JEgidius quotes the Wisdom of Solomon, 2 : 21. 


the plenitude of power. This is the supreme pontiff. The 
priesthood and the papacy are of immediate divine appoint- 
ment. Earthly kingdoms, except as they have been estab- 
lished by the priesthood, owe their origin to usurpation, rob- 
bery, and other forms of violence. 1 In these views JEgidius 
followed Augustine : De civitate, IV. 4, and Gregory VII. 
The state, however, he declared to be necessary as a means 
through which the Church works to accomplish its divinely 
appointed ends. 

In the second part of his tract, jEgidius proves that, in 
spite of Numb. 18 : 20, 21, and Luke 10 : 4, the Church has 
the right to possess worldly goods. The Levites received 
cities. In fact, all temporal goods are under the control of the 
Church. 2 As the soul rules the body, so the pope rules over 
all temporal matters. The tithe is a perpetual obligation. 
No one has a right to the possession of a single acre of ground 
or a vineyard without the Church's permission and unless 
he be baptized. 

The fulness of power, residing in the pope, gives him the 
right to appoint to all benefices in Christendom, but, as God 
chooses to rule through the laws of nature, so the pope rules 
through the laws of the Church, but he is not bound by them. 
He may himself be called the Church. For the pope's power 
is spiritual, heavenly and divine. -52gidius was used by his 
successors, James of Viterbo, Augustinus Triumphus and 
Alvarus, and also by John of Paris and Gerson who contested 
some of his main positions. 8 

The second of these writers, defending the position of Boni- 
face VIII., was James of Viterbo, 4 d. 1308. He also was an 
Italian, belonged to the Augustinian order, and gained promi- 
nence as a teacher in Paris. In 1302 he was appointed by 
Boniface archbishop of Beneventum, and a few months later 
archbishop of Naples. His Christian Government De re- 
ffimine christiano is, after the treatise of JEgidius, the most 

1 See Scholz, p. 96 sqq. This author says the de regimine principum of 
uEgidius presents a different view, and following Aristotle, derives the state 
from the social principle. 8 Sub dominio et potentate ecclesias. 

8 Scholz, p. 124. * See Finke, pp. 163-166 j Scholz, pp. 129-163. 

86 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

comprehensive of the papal tracts. It also was dedicated to 
Boniface VIII., who is addressed as "the holy lord of the 
kings of the earth." The author distinctly says he was led 
to write by the attacks made upon the papal prerogative. 

To Christ's vicar, James says, royalty and priesthood, 
regnum et sacerdotium, belong. Temporal authority was not 
for the first time conferred on him when Constantino gave 
Sylvester the dominion of the West. Constantine did noth- 
ing more than confirm a previous right derived from Christ, 
when he said, " whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be 
bound in heaven." Priests are kings, and the pope is the 
king of kings, both in mundane and spiritual matters. 1 He 
is the bishop of the earth, the supreme lawgiver. Every soul 
must be subject to him in order to salvation. 2 By reason of 
his fulness of power, the supreme pontiff can act according to 
law or against it, as he chooses. 8 

Henry of Cassaloci, or Henry of Cremona, as he is usually 
called from his Italian birthplace, d. 1312, is mentioned, con- 
trary to the custom of the age, by name by John of Paris, as 
the author of the tract, The Power of the Pope De po- 
testate papce.* He was a distinguished authority in canon 
law and consulted by Boniface. He was appointed, 1302, a 
member of the delegation to carry to Philip the Fair the two 
notorious bulls, Salvador mundi and Ausculta fili. The same 
year he was appointed bishop of Reggio. 6 The papal de- 
fenders were well paid. 

Henry began his tract with the words of Matt. 27 : 18, 
"All power is given unto me," and declared the attack 

1 Scholz, pp. 135, 145, 147. These two prerogatives are called potestas ordi- 
nis and potestas jurisdictionis. 2 Scholz, p. 148. 

8 Potest agere etsecundum leges quasponit et prater ill as, ubi opportunism 
essejudicaverit. Finke, p. 166. 

* Finke, pp. 166-170 ; Scholz, pp. 162-165. Finke was the first to use this 
tract. Scholz describes two MSS. in the National Library of Paris, and 
gives the tract entire, pp. 459-471. 

6 A contemporary notes that the consistory was reminded that the nominee 
was the author of the De potestate papce, " a book which proves that the pope 
was overlord in temporal as well as spiritual matters.* 1 Scholz, p. 155. The 
tract was written, as Scholz thinks, not later than 1301, or earlier than 1208, 
as it quotes the Liber textu*. 


against the pope's temporal jurisdiction over the whole earth 
a matter of recent date, and made by " sophists " who de- 
served death. Up to that time no one had made such denial. 
He attempts to make out his fundamental thesis from Scrip- 
ture, the Fathers, canon law, and reason. God at first ruled 
through Noah, the patriarchs, Melchizedec, and Moses, who 
were priests and kings at the same time. Did not Moses 
punish Pharaoh ? Christ carried both swords. Did he not 
drive out the money-changers and wear the crown of thorns ? 
To him the power was given to judge the world. John 5 : 22. 
The same power was entailed upon Peter and his successors. 
As for the state, it bears to the Church the relation of the 
moon to the sun, and the emperor has only such power as the 
pope is ready to confer. Henry also affirms that Constantino's 
donation established no right, but confirmed what the pope 
already possessed by virtue of heavenly gift. l The pope trans- 
ferred the empire to Charlemagne, and Innocent IV. asserted 
the papal supremacy over kings by deposing Frederick II. 
If in early and later times the persons of popes were abused, 
this was not because they lacked supreme authority in the 
earth a or were in anywise subject to earthly princes. No 
emperor can legally exercise imperial functions without papal 
consecration. When Christ said, " my kingdom is not of this 
world," he meant nothing more than that the world refused 
to obey him. As for the passage, " render to Caesar the things 
which are Caesar's," Christ was under no obligation to give 
tribute to the emperor, and the children of the kingdom are 
free, as Augustine, upon the basis of Matt. 27 : 26 sq., said. 

The main work of another defender of the papal preroga- 
tives, Augustinus Triumphus, belongs to the next period. 8 

An intermediate position between these writers and the 
anti-papal publicists was taken by the Cardinals Colonna and 
their immediate supporters. 4 In their zeal against Boniface 

1 Constantinus non dedit sed recognovit ab ecclesia se tenere confltetur 
se ab ecclesia illud tenere. See Scholz, p. 467. 
8 Non defectus juris ', sed potential. 

8 Four of his smaller tracts are summarized by Scholz, pp. 172-189. See 8. 
* Scholz, pp. 198-207. 

38 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

VIII. they questioned the absolute power of the Church in 
temporal concerns, and placed the supreme spiritual authority 
in the college of cardinals, with the* pope as its head. 

Among the advanced writers of the age was William 
Durante, d. 1331, an advocate of Gallicanism. 1 He was ap- 
pointed bishop of Mende before he had reached the canonical 
age. He never came under the condemnation of the Church. 
In a work composed at the instance of Clement V. on general 
councils and the reformation of Church abuses, De modo ffeneralis 
concilii celebrandi et corruptelis in ecclesiis reformandis, he de- 
manded a reformation of the Church in head and members, 2 us- 
ing for the first time this expression which was so often employed 
in a later age. He made the pope one of the order of bishops on 
all of whom was conferred equally the power to bind and to 
loose. 8 The bishops are not the pope's assistants, the view 
held by Innocent III., but agents directly appointed by God 
with independent jurisdiction. The pope may not act out 
of harmony with the canons of the early Church except with 
the approval of a general council. When new measures are 
contemplated, a general council should be convened, and one 
should be called every ten years. 4 

Turning now to the writers who contested the pope's right 
to temporal authority over the nations, we find that while the 
most of them were clerics, all of them were jurists. It is 
characteristic that besides appealing to Aristotle, the Scrip- 
tures, and the canon law, they also appealed to the Roman 
law. We begin with several pamphlets whose authorship is 
a matter of uncertainty. 

The Twofold Prerogative Qucestio in utramque partem 
was probably written in 1302, and by a Frenchman. 6 The 

1 Scholz, pp. 208-223. 

2 Tarn in capite quam in membris. Scholz, pp. 211, 220. The tract was 
reprinted at the time of the Council of Trent and dedicated to Paul III. 

3 The words Matt. 10 : 19, were addressed to the whole Church, he says, 
and not to Peter alone. 

* Scholz, p. 214. 

6 This date is made very probable by Scholz, p. 226 sqq. Kiezler, p. 141, 
wrongly put it down to 1864-1880. Scheffer-Boichorst showed that the 
author spoke of the canonization of Louis IX., 1297, as having occurred " in 


tract clearly sets forth that the two functions, the spiritual 
and the temporal, are distinct, and that the pope has plenary 
power only in the spiritual realm. It is evident that they 
are not united in one person, from Christ's refusal of the 
office of king and from the law prohibiting the Levites hold- 
ing worldly possessions. Canon law and Roman law rec- 
ognized the independence of the civil power. Both estates 
are of God. At best the pope's temporal authority extends 
to the patrimony of Peter. The empire is one among the 
powers, without authority over other states. As for the 
king of France, he would expose himself to the penalty of 
death if he were to recognize the pope as overlord. 1 

The same positions are taken in the tract, 2 The Papal 
Power, Qucestio de potestate papce. The author insists that 
temporal jurisdiction is incompatible with the pope's office. 
He uses the figure of the body to represent the Church, giv- 
ing it a new turn. Christ is the head. The nerves and veins 
are officers in the Church and state. They depend directly 
upon Christ, the head. The heart is the king. The pope is 
not even called the head. The soul is not mentioned. The 
old application of the figure of the body and the soul, repre- 
senting respectively the regnum and the sacerdotium, is set 
aside. The pope is a spiritual father, not the lord over 
Christendom. Moses was a temporal ruler and Aaron was 
priest. The functions and the functionaries were distinct. 
At best, the donation of Constantine had no reference to 
France, for France was distinct from the empire. The depo- 
sition of Childerich by Pope Zacharias established no right, 
for all that Zacharias did was, as a wise counsellor, to give the 
barons advice. 

A third tract, one of the most famous pieces of this litera- 

our days," and that he quoted the Liber sextus, 1298, as having recently 
appeared. The tract is given in Goldast : Monarchia, II. 196 sqq. 

1 Scholz, p. 239. On Feb. 23, 1302, Philip made his sons swear never to 
acknowledge any one but God as overlord. 

2 It is bound up in MS. with the former tract and with the work of John 
of Paris. It is printed in Dupuy, pp. 003-083. It has been customary to 
regard Peter Dubois as the author, but Scholz, p. 257, gives reasons against 
this view. 

40 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

ture, the Disputation between a Cleric and a Knight, 1 was 
written to defend the sovereignty of the state and its right 
to levy taxes upon Church property. The author maintains 
that the king of France is in duty bound to see that Church 
property is administered according to the intent for which 
it was given. As he defends the Church against foreign 
foes, so he has the right to put the Church under tribute. 

In the publicist, John of Paris, d. 1306, we have one of the 
leading minds of the age. 2 He was a Dominican, and enjoyed 
great fame as a preacher and master. On June 26, 1303, he 
joined 132 other Parisian Dominicans in signing a document 
calling for a general council, which the university had openly 
favored five days before. 8 His views of the Lord's Supper 
brought upon him the charge of heresy, and he was forbidden 
to give lectures at the university. 4 He appealed to Clement 
V., but died before he could get a hearing. 

John's chief writing was the tract on the Authority of the 
Pope and King, De potentate regia et papalif which al- 
most breathes the atmosphere of modern times. 

John makes a clear distinction between the " body of the 
faithful," which is the Church, and the " body of the clergy." 6 

1 Disputatio inter clericum et militem. It was written during the conflict 
between Boniface and Philip, and not by Ockam, to whom it was formerly 
ascribed. Recently Riezler, p. 145, has ascribed it to Peter Dubois. It was 
first printed, 1475, and is reprinted in Goldast: Monarchia, I. 13 sqq. MSS. 
are found in Paris, Oxford, Cambridge, and Prag. See Scholz, p. 336 sqq. 
An English translation appeared with the following title : A dialogue betwene 
a knight and a clerke concerning the Power Spiritual and temporal, by 
William Ockham, the great philosopher, in English and Latin, London, 1540. 

* Finke, pp. 170-177 ; Scholz, pp. 275-333. 
Chartul. Univ. Paris., II. 102. 

4 De mode existendi corporis Christi in sacramento altaris. Chartul. II. 

a First printed in Paris, 1506, and is found in Goldast, II. 108 sqq. For the 
writings ascribed to John, see Scholz, p. 284 sq. Finke, p. 172, says, tin ge- 
sundes beinahe modernes Empflnden zeichnet ihn aus. His tract belongs to 
1302-1303. So Scholz and Finke. John writes as though Boniface were still 
living. He quotes " the opinions of certain moderns " and Henry of Cremona 
by name. The last chapter of John's tract is largely made up of excerpts from 
JEgidius 1 De renuntiatione papa. Scholz, p. 291, thinks it probable that 
Dante used John's tract. 

Congregatio fldelium . . . congregatio clericorum. 


The Church has its unity in Christ, who established the two 
estates, spiritual and temporal. They are the same in origin, 
but distinguished on earth. The pope has the right to pun- 
ish moral offences, but only with spiritual punishments. The 
penalties of death, imprisonment, and fines, he has no right 
to impose. Christ had no worldly jurisdiction, and the pope 
should keep clear of " Herod's old error." l Constantino had 
no right to confer temporal power on Sylvester. John ad- 
duced 42 reasons urged in favor of the pope's omnipotence in 
temporal affairs and offers a refutation for each of them. 

As for the pope's place in the Church, the pope is the rep- 
resentative of the ecclesiastical body, not its lord. The 
Church may call him to account. If the Church were to elect 
representatives to act with the supreme pontiff, we would have 
the best of governments. As things are, the cardinals are his 
advisers and may admonish him and, in case he persists in his 
error, they may call to their aid the temporal arm. The pope 
may be deposed by an emperor, as was actually the case when 
three popes were deposed by Henry III. The final seat of 
ecclesiastical authority is the general council. It may depose 
a pope. Valid grounds of deposition are insanity, heresy, per- 
sonal incompetence and abuse of the Church's property. 

Following Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, John derived the 
state from the family and not from murder and other acts of 
violence. 3 It is a community organized for defence and bodily 
well-being. With other jurists, he regarded the empire as an 
antiquated institution and, if it continues to exist, it is on a 
par with the monarchies, not above them. Climate and geo- 
graphical considerations make different monarchies necessary, 
and they derive their authority from God. Thus John and 
Dante, while agreeing as to the independence of the state, 
differ as to the seat where secular power resides. Dante 
placed it in a universal empire, John of Paris in separate 

The boldest and most advanced of these publicists, Pierre 
Dubois, 8 was a layman, probably a Norman, and called him- 

1 Scholz, p. 316. * Finke, p. 72 ; Scholz, p. 824. 

See Renan : Hist. LM. XXVI. 471-686 ; Scholz, pp. 374-444. 

42 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

self a royal attorney. 1 As a delegate to the national council 
in Paris, April, 1302, he represented Philip's views. He was 
living as late as 1321. In a number of tracts he supported the 
contention of the French monarch against Boniface VIII. 2 
France is independent of the empire, and absolutely sovereign 
in all secular matters. The French king is the successor of 
Charlemagne. The pope is the moral teacher of mankind, 
" the light of the world," but he has no jurisdiction in tem- 
poral affairs. It is his function to care for souls, to stop 
wars, to exercise oversight over the clergy, but his jurisdic- 
tion extends no farther. 

The pope and clergy are given to worldliness and self-in- 
dulgence. Boniface is a heretic. The prelates squander the 
Church's money in wars and litigations, prefer the atmosphere 
of princely courts, and neglect theology and the care of souls. 
The avarice of the curia and the pope leads them to scandalous 
simony and nepotism. 8 Constantino's donation marked the 
change to worldliness among the clergy. It was illegal, and 
the only title the pope can show to temporal power over the 
patrimony of Peter is long tenure. The first step in the di- 
rection of reforms would be for clergy and pope to renounce 
worldly possessions altogether. This remedy had been pre- 
scribed by Arnold of Brescia and Frederick II. 

Dubois also criticised the rule and practice of celibacy. 
Few clergymen keep their vows. And yet they are retained, 
while ordination is denied to married persons. This is in the 
face of the fact that the Apostle permitted marriage to all. 
The practice of the Eastern church is to be preferred. The 
rule of single life is too exacting, especially for nuns. Du- 
rante had proposed the abrogation of the rule, and Arnald 
of Villanova had emphasized the sacredness of the marriage 
tie, recalling that it was upon a married man, Peter, that 
Christ conferred the primacy. 4 

1 Advocatus regalium causarum. 

2 For these tracts, see Renan, p. 470 sq. ; Scholz, p. 886 sqq. 
8 Scholz, p. 398. 

4 Contulit conjugate scilicet beato Petro primatum ecclerice, Finke, p. 
clzziii. Arnald is attacking the Minorites and Dominicans for publicly teach- 


Dubois showed the freshness of his mind by suggestions of 
a practical nature. He proposed the colonization of the Holy 
Land by Christian people, and the marriage of Christian women 
to Saracens of station as a means of converting them. As a 
measure for securing the world's conversion, he recommended 
to Clement the establishment of schools for boys and girls in 
every province, where instruction should be given in different 
languages. The girls were to be taught Latin and the funda- 
mentals of natural science, and especially medicine and surgery, 
that they might serve as female physicians among women in 
the more occult disorders. 

A review of the controversial literature of the age of 
Philip the Fair shows the new paths along which men's 
thoughts were moving. 1 The papal apologists insisted upon 
traditional interpretations of a limited number of texts, the 
perpetual validity of Constantine's donation, and the transfer 
of the empire. They were forever quoting Innocent's famous 
bull, Per veneralilem. 2 On the other hand, John of Paris, and 
the publicists who sympathized with him, as also Dante, cor- 
rected and widened the vision of the field of Scripture, and 
brought into prominence the common rights of man. The re- 
sistance which the king of France offered to the demands of 
Boniface encouraged writers to speak without reserve. 

The pope's spiritual primacy was left untouched. The 
attack was against his temporal jurisdiction. The fiction of 
the two swords was set aside. The state is as supreme in 
its sphere as the Church in its sphere, and derives its authority 
immediately from God. Constantine had no right to confer 
the sovereignty of the West upon Sylvester, and his gift con- 
stitutes no valid papal claim. Each monarch is supreme in 
his own realm, and the theory of the overlordship of the em- 
peror is abandoned as a thing out of date. 

The pope's tenure of office was made subject to limitation. 

ing that the statements of married people in matters of doctrine are not to be 
believed, conjugate non est credendum super veritate divina. 

1 See the summary of Scholz, pp. 444-458. 

2 It is quoted again and again by Henry of Cremona. See the text in Scholz, 
p. 464 sq., etc. For the text of the bull, see Mirbt : Quellen, pp. 127-130. 

44 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

He may be deposed for heresy and incompetency. Some 
writers went so far as to deny to him jurisdiction over Church 
property. The advisory function of the cardinals was em- 
phasized and the independent authority of the bishops affirmed. 
Above all, the authority residing in the Church as a body of 
believers was discussed, and its voice, as uttered through a 
general council, pronounced to be superior to the authority of 
the pope. The utterances of John of Paris and Peter Dubois 
on the subject of general councils led straight on to the views 
propounded during the papal schism at the close of the four- 
teenth century. 1 Dubois demanded that laymen as well as 
clerics should have a voice in them. The rule of clerical celi- 
bacy was attacked, and attention called to its widespread vio- 
lation in practice. Pope and clergy were invoked to devote 
themselves to the spiritual well-being of mankind, and to 
foster peaceable measures for the world's conversion. 

This freedom of utterance and changed way of thinking 
mark the beginning of one of the great revolutions in the his- 
tory of the Christian Church. To these publicists the modern 
world owes a debt of gratitude. Principles whicli are now re- 
garded as axiomatic were new for the Christian public of their 
day. A generation later, Marsiglius of Padua defined them 
again with clearness, and took a step still further in advance. 

6. The Transfer of the Papacy to Avignon. 

The successor of Boniface, Benedict XL, 1303-1304, a 
Dominican, was a mild-spirited and worthy man, more bent 
on healing ruptures than on forcing his arbitrary will. De- 
parting from the policy of his predecessor, he capitulated to 
the state and put an end to the conflict with Philip the Fair. 
Sentences launched by Boniface were recalled or modified, 
and the interdict pronounced by that pope upon Lyons was 
revoked. Palestrina was restored to the Colonna. Only 
Sciarra Colonna and Nogaret were excepted from the act of 
immediate clemency and ordered to appear at Rome. Bene- 
dict's death, after a brief reign of eight months, was ascribed 

1 Scholz, p. 322 ; Schwab : Life of Geraon, p. 188. 


to poison secreted in a dish of figs, of which the pope partook 
freely. 1 

The conclave met in Perugia, where Benedict died, and 
was torn by factions. After an interval of nearly eleven 
months, the French party won a complete triumph by the 
choice of Bertrand de Got, archbishop of Bordeaux, who 
took the name of Clement V. At the time of his election, 
Bertrand was in France. He never crossed the Alps. After 
holding his court at Bordeaux, Poictiers, and Toulouse, he 
chose, in 1309, Avignon as his residence. 

Thus began the so-called Babylonian captivity, or Avi- 
gnon exile, of the papacy, which lasted more than seventy 
years and included seven popes, all Frenchmen, Clement V., 
1305-1314 ; John XXII., 1316-1334; Benedict XII., 1334- 
1342; Clement VI., 1342-1352 ; Innocent VI., 1352-1362; 
Urban V., 1362-1370 ; Gregory XL, 1370-1378. This pro- 
longed absence from Rome was a great shock to the papal 
system. Transplanted from its maternal soil, the papacy was 
cut loose from the hallowed and historical associations of 
thirteen centuries. It no longer spake as from the centre of 
the Christian world. 

The way had been prepared for the abandonment of the 
Eternal City and removal to French territory. Innocent II. 
and other popes had found refuge in France. During the 
last half of the thirteenth century the Apostolic See, in its 
struggle with the empire, had leaned upon France for aid. 
To avoid Frederick II., Innocent IV. had fled to Lyons, 1245. 
If Boniface VIII. represents a turning-point in the history of 
the papacy, the Avignon residence shook the reverence of 
Christendom for it. It was in danger of becoming a French 
institution. Not only were the popes all Frenchmen, but the 
large majority of the cardinals were of French birth. Both 
were reduced to a station little above that of court prelates 
subject to the nod of the French sovereign. At the same 

i Ferretus of Vicenza, Muratori, IX. 1013. Villani, VIII. 80. As an 
example of Benedict's sanctity it was related that after be was made pope he 
was visited by his mother, dressed in silks, but he refused to recognize her 
till she had changed her dress, and then he embraced her. 

46 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

time, the popes continued to exercise their prerogatives over 
the other nations of Western Christendom, and freely hurled 
anathemas at the German emperor and laid the interdict 
upon Italian cities. The word might be passed around, 
" where the pope is, there is Rome," but the wonder is that 
the grave hurt done to his oecumenical character was not 
irreparable. 1 

The morals of Avignon during the papal residence were 
notorious throughout Europe. The papal household had all 
the appearance of a worldly court, torn by envies and 
troubled by schemes of all sorts. Some of the Avignon 
popes left a good name, but the general impression was bad 
weak if not vicious. The curia was notorious for its 
extravagance, venality, and sensuality. Nepotism, bri- 
bery, and simony were unblushingly practised. The finan- 
cial operations of the papal family became oppressive to 
an extent unknown before. Indulgences, applied to all 
sorts of cases, were made a source of increasing revenue. 
''Alvarus Pelagius, a member of the papal household and a 
strenuous supporter of the papacy, in his De planctu ecclesice, 
complained bitterly of the peculation and traffic in ecclesias- 
tical places going on at the papal court. It swarmed with 
money-changers, and parties bent on money operations. 
Another contemporary, Petrarch, who never uttered a word 
against the papacy as a divine institution, launched his sat- 
ires against Avignon, which he called "the sink of every 
vice, the haunt of all iniquities, a third Babylon, the Babylon 
of the West." No expression is too strong to carry his bit- 
ing invectives. Avignon is the " fountain of afflictions, the 

1 See Pastor, I. 75-80. He calls Clement's decision to remain in France 
der unselige Entschluss, " the unholy resolve/ 1 and says the change to Avi- 
gnon had the meaning of a calamity and a fall, die Bedeutung einer Katastro- 
phe, eines Sturzes. Hefele-Knopfler, Kirchengeschichte, p. 458, pronounces 
it " a move full of bad omen." Baur, Kirchengesch. d. M.A., p. 265, said, 
"The transference of the papal chair to Avignon was the fatal turning-point 
from which the papacy moved on to its dramatic goal with hasty step." See 
also Haller, p. 23. Pastor, p. 62, making out as good a case as he can for the 
Avignon popes, lays stress upon the support they gave to missions in Asia 
and Africa. Clement VI., 1842-1862, appointed an archbishop for Japan. 


refuge of wrath, the school of errors, a temple of lies, the 
awful prison, hell on earth." 1 But the corruption of Avi- 
gnon was too glaring to make it necessary for him to invent 
charges. This ill-fame gives Avignon a place at the side of 
the courts of Louis XIV. and Charles II. of England. 

During this papal expatriation, Italy fell into a deplorable 
condition. Rome, which had been the queen of cities, the goal 
of pilgrims, the centre towards which the pious affections of 
all Western Europe turned, the locality where royal and 
princely embassies had sought ratification for ambitious plans 
Rome was now turned into an arena of wild confusion and 
riot. Contending factions of nobles, the Colonna, Orsini, 
Gaetani, and others, were in constant feud, 2 and strove one 
with the other for the mastery in municipal affairs and were 
often themselves set aside by popular leaders whose low 
birth they despised. The source of her gains gone, the city 
withered away and was reduced to the proportions, the pov- 
erty, and the dull happenings of a provincial town, till in 
1370 the population numbered less than 20,000. She had no 
commerce to stir her pulses like the young cities in Northern 
and Southern Germany and in Lombardy. Obscurity and 
melancholy settled upon her palaces and public places, broken 
only by the petty attempts at civic displays, which were like 
the actings of the circus ring compared with the serious 
manoeuvres of a military campaign. The old monuments 
were neglected or torn down. A papal legate sold the stones 
of the Colosseum to be burnt in lime-kilns, and her marbles 
were transported to other cities, so that it was said she was 
drawn upon more than Carrara. 8 Her churches became 

1 Petrarch speaks of it " as filled with every kind of confusion, the pow- 
ers of darkness overspreading it and containing everything fearful which had 
ever existed or been imagined by a disordered mind." Robinson : Petrarch, 
p. 87. Pastor, I. p. 76, seeks to reduce the value of Petrarch's testimony on 
the ground that he spoke as a poet, burning with the warm blood of his 
country, who, notwithstanding his charges, preferred to live in Avignon. 

8 The children did not escape the violence of this mad frenzy. The little 
child, Agaplto Colonna, was found in the church, where it had been taken by 
the servant, strangled by the Orsini. 

* Pastor, p. 7&, with note. 

48 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

roofless. Cattle ate grass up to the very altars of the Lateran 
and St. Peter's. The movement of art was stopped which 
had begun with the arrival of Giotto, who had come to Rome 
at the call of Boniface VIII. to adorn St. Peter's. No prod- 
uct of architecture is handed down from this period except 
the marble stairway of the church of St. Maria, Ara Coeli, 
erected in 1348 with an inscription commemorating the de- 
liverance from the plague, and the restored Lateran church 
which was burnt, 1308. 1 Ponds and d6bris interrupted the 
passage of the streets and filled the air with offensive and 
deadly odors. At Clement V.'s death, Napoleon Orsini as- 
sured Philip that the Eternal City was on the verge of de- 
struction and, in 1347, Cola di Rienzo thought it more fit to 
be called a den of robbers than the residence of civilized men. 

The Italian peninsula, at least in its northern half, was a 
scene of political division and social anarchy. The country 
districts were infested with bands of brigands. The cities 
were given to frequent and violent changes of government. 
High officials of the Church paid the price of immunity from 
plunder and violence by exactions levied on other personages 
of station. Such were some of the immediate results of the 
exile of the papacy. Italy was in danger of succumbing to the 
fate of Hellas and being turned into a desolate waste. 

Avignon, which Clement chose as his residence, is 460 miles 
southeast of Paris and lies south of Lyons. Its proximity to 
the port of Marseilles made it accessible to Italy. It was pur- 
chased by Clement VI., 1348, from Naples for 80,000 gold flor- 
ins, and remained papal territory until the French Revolution. 
As early as 1229, the popes held territory in the vicinity, the 
duchy of Venaissin, which fell to them from the domain of 
Raymond of Toulouse. On every side this free papal home 
was closely confined by French territory. Clement was urged 
by Italian bishops to go to Rome, and Italian writers gave as 
one reason for his refusal fear lest he should receive meet pun- 
ishment for his readiness to condemn Boniface VIII. 8 

1 John XXII. paid off the cost incurred for this restoration with the price of 
silver vessels left by Clement V. for the relief of the churches in Rome. 
See Ehrle, V. 131. a See Finke : Qudlen, p. 92. 


Clement's coronation was celebrated at Lyons, Philip and 
his brothef Charles of Valois,the Duke of Bretagne and rep- 
resentatives of the king of England being present. Philip 
and the duke walked at the side of the pope's palfrey. By 
the fall of an old wall during the procession, the duke, a 
brother of the pope, and ten other persons lost their lives. 
The pope himself was thrown from his horse, his tiara rolled 
in the dust, and a large carbuncle, which adorned it, was lost. 
Scarcely ever was a papal ruler put in a more compromising 
position than the new pontiff. His subjection to a sovereign 
who had defied the papacy was a strange spectacle. He owed 
his tiara indirectly, if not immediately, to Philip the Fair. 
He was the man Philip wanted. 1 It was his task to appease 
the king's anger against the memory of Boniface, and to meet 
his brutal demands concerning the Knights Templars. These, 
with the Council of Vienne, which he called, were the chief 
historic concerns of his pontificate. 

The terms on which the new pope received the tiara were 
imposed by Philip himself, and, according to Villani, the price 
he made the Gascon pay included six promises. Five of them 
concerned the total undoing of what Boniface had done in his 
conflict with Philip. The sixth article, which was kept secret, 
was supposed to be the destruction of the order of the Tem- 
plars. It is true that the authenticity of these six articles has 
been disputed, but there can be no doubt that from the very 
outset of Clement's pontificate, the French king pressed their 
execution upon the pope's attention. 2 Clement, in poor posi- 
tion to resist, confirmed what Benedict had done and went 

1 Dollinger says Clement passed completely into the service of the king, er 
trat ganz in den Dienst des Konigs. Akad. Vortrage, III. 254. 

2 Mansi was the first to express doubts concerning these articles, reported by 
Villani, VIII. 80. Dollinger: Akad. Vortrdge, III. 264, and Hefele, following 
Bouteric, deny them altogether. Hefele, in a long and careful statement, VI. 
894-403, gives reasons for regarding them as an Italian invention. Clement 
distinctly said that he knew nothing of the charges against the Templars till 
the day of his coronation. On the other hand, Villani's testimony is clear and 
positive, and at any rate shows the feeling which prevailed in the early part of 
the fourteenth century. Archer is inclined to hold on to Villani's testimony, 
Ene. Brit., XXIII. 164. The character of pope and king, and the circum- 
stances under which Clement was elected, make a compact altogether probable. 

60 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

farther. He absolved the king ; recalled, Feb. 1, 1306, the 
offensive bulls Olericis laicoB and Unam sanctam^ so far as they 
implied anything offensive to France or any subjection on 
the part of the king to the papal chair, not customary before 
their issue, and fully restored the cardinals of the Colonna 
family to the dignities of their office. 

The proceedings touching the character of Boniface VIII. 
and his right to a place among the popes dragged along for 
fully six years. Philip had offered, among others, his brother, 
Count Louis of Evreux, as a witness for the charge that Boni- 
face had died a heretic. There was a division of sentiment 
among the cardinals. The Colonna were as hostile to the 
memory of Boniface as they were zealous in their writings 
for the memory of Ccelestine V. They pronounced it to be 
contrary to the divine ordinance for a pope to abdicate. His 
spiritual marriage with the Church cannot be dissolved. And 
as for there being two popes at the same time, God was him- 
self not able to constitute such a monstrosity. On the other 
hand, writers like Augustinus Triumphus defended Boniface 
and pronounced him a martyr to the interests of the Church 
and worthy of canonization. 1 In his zeal against his old enemy 
Philip had called, probably as early as 1305, for the canoniza- 
tion of Coelestine V. 2 A second time, in 1307, Boniface's con- 
demnation was pressed upon Clement by the king in person. 
But the pope knew how to prolong the prosecution on all sorts 
of pretexts. Philip represented himself as concerned for the 
interests of religion, and Nogaret and the other conspirators 
insisted that the assault at Avignon was a religious aci,negotium 
fidei. Nogaret sent forth no less than twelve apologies defend- 
ing himself for his part in the assault. 3 In 1310 the formal 

1 Dupuy, pp. 448-466. See Finke and Scholz, pp. 198-207. Among those who 
took sides against the pope was Peter Dubois. In his Deliberatio super agen- 
dis a Philippo IV. (Dupuy, pp. 44-47), he pronounced Boniface a heretic. 
This tract was probably written during the sessions of the National Assembly 
in Paris, April, 1302. See Scholz, p. 386. In another tract Dubois (Dupuy, 
pp. 214-19) called upon the French king to condemn Boniface as a heretic. 

2 This is upon the basis of a tractate found and published by Finke, Aus 
den Tagen Bon. VIIL, pp. Ixix-c, and which he puts in the year 1308. See 
pp. Ixxxv, xcviii. Scholz, p. 174, ascribes this tract to Augustinus Triumphus. 

Holtzmann : W. von Nogaret, p. 202 sqq. 


trial began* Many witnesses appeared to testify against Boni- 
face, laymen, priests and bishops. The accusations were that 
the pope had declared all three religions false, Mohammedan- 
ism, Judaism and Christianity, pronounced the virgin birth 
a tale, denied transubstantiation and the existence of hell and 
heaven and that he had played games of chance. 

Clement issued one bull after another protesting the inno- 
cency of the offending parties concerned in the violent meas- 
ures against Boniface. Philip and Nogaret were declared 
innocent of all guilt and to have only pure motives in prefer- 
ring charges against the dead pope. 1 The bull, Rex gloricB^ 
1311, addressed to Philip, stated that the secular kingdom 
was founded by God and that France in the new dispensation 
occupied about the same p]ace as Israel, the elect people, oc- 
cupied under the old dispensation. Nogaret's purpose in enter- 
ing into the agreement which resulted in the affair at Anagni 
was to save the Church from destruction at the hands of Boni- 
face, and the plundering of the papal palace and church was 
done against the wishes of the French chancellor. In several 
bulls Clement recalled all punishments, statements, suspen- 
sions and declarations made against Philip and his kingdom, 
or supposed to have been made. And to fully placate the 
king, he ordered all Boniface's pronouncements of this char- 
acter effaced from the books of the Roman Church. Thus in 
the most solemn papal form did Boniface's successor undo all 
that Boniface had done. 2 When the (Ecumenical Council of 
Vienne met, the case of Boniface was so notorious a matter 
that it had to be taken up. After a formal trial, in which the 
accused pontiff was defended by three cardinals, he was ad- 
judged not guilty. To gain this point, and to save his pred- 
ecessor from formal condemnation, it is probable Clement 

1 The tract of 1308 attempts to prove some of the charges against Boniface 
untrue, or that true sayings attributed to him did not make him a heretic. 
For example, it takes up the charges that Boniface had called the Gauls dogs, 
and had said he would rather be a dog than a Gaul. The argument begins by 
quoting Eccles. 3 : 19, p. Izz. sqq. 

8 The condemned clauses were in some cases erased, but Boniface's friends 
succeeded in keeping some perfect copies of the originals. See Hefele- 
Knbpfier, VI. 460. 

52 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

had to surrender to Philip unqualifiedly in the matter of the 
Knights of the Temple. 

After long and wearisome proceedings, this order was for- 
mally legislated out of existence by Clement in 1312. Founded 
inlll9 to protect pilgrims and to defend the Holy Land against 
the Moslems, it had outli ved its mission. Sapped of its energy 
by riches and indulgence, its once famous knights might well 
have disbanded and no interest been the worse for it. The 
story, however, of their forcible suppression awakens universal 
sympathy and forms one of the most thrilling and mysterious 
chapters of the age. Dollinger has called it " a unique drama 
in history." 1 

The destruction of the Templar order was relentlessly in- 
sisted upon by Philip the Fair, and accomplished with the 
reluctant co-operation of Clement V. In vain did the king 
strive to hide the sordidness of his purpose under the thin 
mask of religious zeal. At Clement's coronation, if not before, 
Philip brought charges against it. About the same time, in 
the insurrection called forth by his debasement of the coin, 
the king took refuge in the Templars' building at Paris. In 
1307 he renewed the charges before the pope. When Clement 
hesitated, he proceededto violence, and on the night of Oct. 13, 
1307, he had all the members of the order in France arrested 
and thrown into prison, including Jacques de Molay, the 
grand-master. Dollinger applies to this deed the strong lan- 
guage that, if he were asked to pick out from the whole 
history of the world the accursed day, dies nefastus, he 
would be able to name none other than Oct. 13, 1307. Three 
days later, Philip announced he had taken this action 
as the defender of the faith and called upon Christian 
princes to follow his example. Little as the business was to 
Clement's taste, he was not man enough to set himself in 
opposition to the king, and he gradually became complai- 

1 Dbllinger's treatment, Akad. Vortrage, III. 244-274, was the last address 
that distinguished historian made before the Munich Academy of the Sciences. 
In his zeal to present a good case for the Templars, he suggests that if they had 
been let alone they might have done good service by policing the Mediterranean, 
with Cyprus as a base. 


sant. 1 The machinery of the Inquisition was called into use. 
The Dominicans, its chief agents, stood high in Philip's 
favor, and one of their number was his confessor. In 1308 
the authorities of the state assented to the king's plans to 
bring the order to trial. The constitution of the court was 
provided for by Clement, the bishop of each diocese and two 
Franciscans and two Dominicans being associated together. 
A commission invested with general authority was to sit in 
Paris. 2 

In the summer of 1308 the pope ordered a prosecution of 
the knights wherever they might be found. 8 The charges set 
forth were heresy, spitting upon the cross, worshipping an idol, 
Bafomet the word for Mohammed in theProvengal dialect 
and also the most abominable offences against moral decency 
such as sodomy and kissing the posterior parts and the navel of 
fellow knights. The members were also accused of having 
meetings with the devil who appeared in the form of a black 
cat and of having carnal intercourse with female demons. 
The charges which the lawyers and Inquisitors got together 
numbered 127 and these the pope sent through France and 
to other countries as the basis of the prosecution. 

Under the strain of prolonged torture, many of the unfortu- 
nate men gave assent to these charges, and more particularly 

1 In the bull Pashtralis prceeminentice, 1307. Augustinus Triuraphus, in his 
tract on the Templars, de facto Templarorum, without denying the charges of 
heresy, denied the king's right to seize and try persons accused of heresy on 
his own initiative and without the previous consent of the Church. See the 
document printed by Scholz, pp. 508-616. 

2 It consisted of the archbishop of Narbonne, the bishops of Mende, Bayeux, 
and Limoges and four lesser dignitaries. The place of sitting was put at Paris 
at the urgency of Philip. 

8 In the bull Facie ns misericordiam. In this document the pope made 
the charge that the grand-master and the officers of the order were in the habit 
of granting absolution, a strictly priestly prerogative. It was to confirm the 
strict view of granting absolution that Alexander III. provided for the ad- 
mission of priests to the Military Orders. See Lea's valuable paper, The 
Absolution Formula of the Templars. See also on this subject Finke I. SOS- 
SOT. Funk, p. 1830, says der Pabst kam vonjetzt an dem KVnig mehr und 
mehr entgegen und nachdem er sich von dem gewaltigsten und rttcksichtstosig- 
Bten Fftrsten seiner Zeit hatte ungarnen lassen, war ein Entkomme* aw 
seiner Gewalt kaum mehr mdglich. 

54 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

to the denial of Christ and the spitting upon the cross. The 
Templars seem to have had no friends in high places bold 
enough to take their part. The king, the pope, the Domini- 
can order, the University of Paris, the French episcopacy were 
against them. Many confessions once made by the victims were 
afterwards recalled at the stake . Many denied the charges alto- 
gether. 1 In Paris 36 died under torture, 54 suffered there at 
one burning, May 10, 1310, and 8 days later 4 more. Hun- 
dreds of them perished in prison. Even the bitterest ene- 
mies acknowledged that the Templars who were put to death 
maintained their innocence to their dying breath. 2 

In accordance with Clement's order, trials were had in Ger- 
many, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and England. In Eng- 
land, Edward II. at first refused to apply the torture, which was 
never formally adopted in that land, but later, at Clement's 
demand, he complied. Papal inquisitors appeared. Synods in 
London and York declared the charges of heresy so serious that 
it would be impossible for the knights to clear themselves. 
English houses were disbanded and the members distributed 
among the monasteries to do penance. In Italy and Germany, 
the accused were, for the most part, declared innocent. In 
Spain and Portugal, no evidence was forthcoming of guilt and 
the synod of Tarragona, 1310, and other synods favored their 

The last act in these hostile proceedings was opened at the 
Council of Vienne, called for the special purpose of taking ac- 
tion upon the order. The large majority of the council were 

1 These practices have been regarded by Prutz, Loiscleur {La doctrine secrete 
des Templien, Paris, 1872) and others as a part of a secret code which came 
into use in the thirteenth century. But the code has not been forthcoming and 
was not referred to in the trials. Frederick II. declared that the Templars re- 
ceived Mohammedans into their house at Jerusalem and preferred their religious 
rites. This statement must be taken with reserve, in view of Frederick's hos- 
tility to the order for its refusal to help him on his crusade. See M. Paris, an. 

2 At the trial before the bishop of Nismes hi 1309, out of 32, all but three 
denied the charges. At Perpignan, 1310, the whole number, 26, denied the 
charges. At Clermont40 confessed the order guilty, 28 denied its guilt. With 
such antagonistic testimonies it is difficult, if at all possible, to decide the 
question of guilt or innocence. 


in favor of giving it a new trial and a fair chance to prove its 
innocence. But the king was relentless. He reminded Clem- 
ent that the guilt of the knights had been sufficiently proven, 
and insisted that the order be abolished. He appeared in 
person at the council, attended by a great retinue. Clement 
was overawed, and by virtue of his apostolic power issued his 
decree abolishing the Templars, March 22, 1312. 1 Clement's 
reasons were that suspicions existed that the order held to 
heresies, that many of the Templars had confessed to heresies 
and other offences, that thereafter reputable persons would 
not enter the order, and that it was no longer necessary for 
the defence of the Holy Land. Directions were given for the 
further procedure. The guilty were to be put to death ; the 
innocent to be supported out of the revenues of the order. 
With this action the famous order passed out of existence. 
The end of Jacques de Molay, the 22d and last grand-mas- 
ter of the order of Templars, was worthy of its proudest days. 
At the first trial he confessed to the charges of denying Christ 
and spitting upon the cross, and was condemned, but after- 
wards recalled his confession. His case was reopened in 1314. 
With Geoffrey de Charney, grand-preceptor of Normandy, 
and others, he was led in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, and 
sentenced to perpetual imprisonment. Molay then stood forth 
and declared that the charges against the order were false, 
and that he had confessed to them under the strain of torture 
and instructions from the king. Charney said the same. The 
commission promised to reconsider the case the next day. But 
the king's vengeance knew no bounds, and that night, March 11, 
1314, the prisoners were burned. The story ran that while the 
flames were doing their grewsome work, Molay summoned pope 
and king to meet him at the judgment bar within a year. The 
former died, in a little more than a month, of a loathsome dis- 

1 Per viam provisions sen ordinationis apostolicce is the language of the 
bull, that is, as opposed to de jure or as a punishment for proven crimes. This 
bull, Vox clamantis, was found by the Benedictine, Dr. Gams, in Spain, in 1866. 
See Hefele-KnSpfler, VI. 626 sqq. It is found in Mirbt : Quellen, p. 149 sq. 
Clement asserts he issued the order of abolition "not without bitterness and 
pain of heart," non sine cordis amaritudine et dolore. Two other bulls on 
the Templars and the disposition of their property followed in May. 

56 THE MIDDLE AGES, A.D. 1204-1617. 

ease, though penitent, as it was reported, for his treatment of 
the order, and the king, by accident, while engaged in the chase, 
six months later. The king was only 46 years old at the time 
of his death, and 14 years after, the last of his direct descend- 
ants was in his grave and the throne passed to the house of 

As for the possessions of the order, papal decrees turned 
them over to the Knights of St. John, but Philip again inter- 
vened and laid claim to 260,000 pounds as a reimbursement 
for alleged losses to the Temple and the expense of guard- 
ing the prisoners. 1 In Spain, they passed to the orders of 
San lago di Compostella and Calatrava. In Aragon, they 
were in part applied to a new order, Santa Maria de Montesia, 
and in Portugal to the Military Order of Jesus Christ, ordo 
militice Jesu Ckristi. Repeated demands made by the pope 
secured the transmission of a large part of their possessions to 
the Knights of St. John. In England, in 1323, parliament 
granted their lands to the Hospitallers, but the king appropri- 
ated a considerable share to himself. The Temple in London 
fell to the Earl of Pembroke, 1313. 2 

The explanation of Philip's violent animosity and persist- 
ent persecution is his cupidity. He coveted the wealth of 
the Templars. Philip was quite equal to a crime of this 
sort. 8 He robbed the bankers of Lombardy and the Jews of 

1 The wealth of the Templars has been greatly exaggerated. They were 
not richer in France than the Hospitallers. About 1300, the possessions of 
each of these orders in that country were taxed at 6000 pounds. See Dbllinger, 
p. 267 sq. Thomas Fuller, the English historian, quaintly says, * * Philip would 
never have taken away the Templars 1 lives if he might have taken away their 
lands without putting them to death. He could not get the honey without 
burning the bees." The Spanish delegation to the Council of Vienne wrote 
back to the king of Aragon that the chief concern at the council and with the 
king in regard to the Templars was the disposition of their goods, Finke, I. 
350, 374. Finke, I. Ill, 115, etc., ascribes a good deal of the animosity against 
the order to the revelations made by Esquin de Floy ran to Jay me of Aragon 
in 1305. But the charges he made were already current in France. 

8 In 1609 the benchers of the Inner and Middle Temple received the build- 
ings for a small annual payment to the Crown, into whose possession they had 
passed under Henry VIII. 

8 Dante and Villani agree that the Templars were innocent. In this judg- 
ment most modern historians concur. Funk declares the sentence of inno- 


France, and debased the coin of his realm. A loan of 500,000 
pounds which he had secured for a sister's dowry had involved 
him in great financial straits. He appropriated all the pos- 
sessions of the Templars he could lay his hands upon. Clem- 
ent V.'s subserviency it is easy to explain. He was a creature 
of the king. When the pope hesitated to proceed against the 
unfortunate order, the king beset him with the case of Boni- 
face VIII. To save the memory of his predecessor, the pope 
surrendered the lives of the knights. 1 Dante, in represent- 
ing the Templars as victims of the king's avarice, compares 
Philip to Pontius Pilate. 

" I see the modern Pilate, whom avails 
No cruelty to sate and who, unbidden, 
Into the Temple sets his greedy sails." 

Purgatory, xx. 91. 

The house of the Templars in Paris was turned into a royal 
residence, from which Louis XVI., more than four centuries 
later, went forth to the scaffold. 

The Council of Vienne, the fifteenth in the list of the oecumen- 
ical councils, met Oct. 16, 1311, and after holding three sessions 
adjourned six months later, May 6, 1312. Clement opened it 
with an address on Psalm 111 : 1, 2, and designated three sub- 
jects for its consideration, the case of the order of the Tem- 
plars, the relief of the Holy Land and Church reform. The 
documents bearing on the council are defective. 2 In addition 

cence to be * without question the right one," p. 1341. Dollinger, with great 
emphasis, insists that nowhere did a Templar make a confession of guilt except 
under torture, p. 267. More recently, 1907, Finke (I. p. ix. 326 sq. 837) in- 
sists upon their innocence and the untrustworthiness of the confessions made 
by the Templars. He declares that he who advocates their guilt must ac- 
cept the appearances of the devil as a tom-cat. Prutz, in his earlier works, 
decided for their guilt. Schottmttller, Dtfllinger, Funk, and our own Dr. Lea 
strongly favor their innocence. Banke : Univ. Hist., VIII. 622, wavers and 
ascribes to them the doctrinal standpoint of Frederick II. and Manfred. In 
France, Michelet was against the order ; Michaud, Guizot, Renan and Bou- 
taric for it Hallam : Middle Ages, I. 142-146, is undecided. 

1 See Dollinger, p. 255, and Gregorovius. Lea gives as excuse for the length 
at which he treats the trial and fate of the unfortunate knights, their helpless- 
ness before the Inquisition. 

Ehrie, Archivflir Lit. und Kirchengesch. IV. 361-470, published a frag- 
mentary report which he discovered in the National Library in Paris. For 
the best account of the proceedings, see Hefele-Knopfler, VI. 514-554. 

68 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

to the decisions concerning the Templars and Boniface VIII., 
it condemned the Beguines and Beghards and listened to 
charges made against the Franciscan, Peter John Olivi (d. 
1298). Olivi belonged to the Spiritual wing of the order. His 
books had been ordered burnt, 1274, by one Franciscan gen- 
eral, and a second general of the order, Bonagratia, 1279, had 
appointed a commission which found thirty-four dangerous 
articles in his writings. The council, without pronouncing* 
against Olivi, condemned three articles ascribed to him bear- 
ing on the relation of the two parties in the Franciscan order, 
the Spirituals and Conventuals. 

The council has a place in the history of biblical scholar- 
ship and university education by its act ordering two chairs 
each, of Hebrew, Arabic, and Chaldee established in Paris, 
Oxford, Bologna, and Salamanca. 

While the proceedings against Boniface and the Templars 
were dragging on in their slow course in France, Clement was 
trying to make good his authority in Italy. Against Venice 
he hurled the most violent anathemas and interdicts for ven- 
turing to lay hands on Ferrara, whose territory was claimed 
by the Apostolic See. A crusade was preached against the 
sacrilegious city. She was defeated in battle, and Ferrara 
was committed to the administration of Robert, king of 
Naples, as the pope's vicar. 

All that he could well do, Clement did to strengthen the 
hold of France on the papacy. The first year of his pontifi- 
cate he appointed 9 French cardinals, and of the 24 persons 
whom he honored with the purple, 23 were Frenchmen. He 
granted to the insatiable Philip a Church tithe for five years. 
Next to the fulfilment of his obligations to this monarch, 
Clement made it his chief business to levy tributes upon eccle- 
siastics of all grades and upon vacant Church livings. l He was 
prodigal with offices to his relatives. This was a leading fea- 
ture of his pontificate. Five of his kin were made cardinals, 
three being still in their youth. His brother he made rector 
of Rome, and other members of his family received Ancona, 
Ferrara, the duchy of Spoleto, and the duchy of Venaissin, and 

1 Haller, p. 45 sqq. 


other territories within the pope's gift. 1 The administration 
and disposition of his treasure occupied a large part of Clem- 
ent's time and have offered an interesting subject to the pen 
of the modern Jesuit scholar, Ehrle. The papal treasure left 
by Clement's predecessor, after being removed from Perugia 
to France, was taken from place to place and castle to castle, 
packed in coffers laden on the backs of mules. After Clem- 
ent's death, the vast sums he had received and accumulated 
suddenly disappeared. Clement's successor, John XXII., in- 
stituted a suit against Clement's most trusted relatives to 
account for the moneys. The suit lasted from 1318-1322, and 
brought to light a great amount of information concerning 
Clement's finances. 2 

His fortune Clement disposed of by will, 1312, the total 
amount being 814,000 florins; 300,000 were given to his 
nephew, the viscount of Lomagne and Auvillars, a man other- 
wise known for his numerous illegitimate offspring. This 
sum was to be used for a crusade ; 314,000 were bequeathed to 
other relatives and to servants. The remaining 200,000 were 
given to churches, convents, and the poor. A loan of 160,000 
made to the king of France was never paid back. 8 

Clement's body was by his appointment buried at Uzeste. 
His treasure was plundered. At the trial instituted by John 
XXII., it appeared that Clement before his death had set apart 
70,000 florins to be divided in equal shares between his suc- 
cessor and the college of cardinals. The viscount of Lomagne 
was put into confinement by John, and turned over 300,000 
florins, one-half going to the cardinals and one-half to the 
pope. A few months after Clement's death, the count made 
loans to the king of France of 110,000 florins and to the king 
of England of 60,000. 

Clement's relatives showed their appreciation of his liber- 
ality by erecting to his memory an elaborate sarcophagus at 

1 Ehrle, V. 139 sq. 

2 Ehrle, p. 147, calculates that Clement's yearly income was between 200,000 
and 250,000 gold florins, and that of this amount he spent 100,000 for the ex- 
penses of his court and saved the remainder, 100,000 or 160,000. Ehrle, p. 149, 
gives Clement's family tree. * Ehrle, pp. 126, 135. 

60 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

Uzeste, which cost 50,000 gold florins. The theory is that the 
pope administers moneys coming to him by virtue of his papal 
office for the interest of the Church at large. Clement spoke 
of the treasure in his coffers as his own, which he might dis- 
pose of as he chose. 1 

Clement's private life was open to the grave suspicion of 
unlawful intimacy with the beautiful Countess Brunissenda of 
Foix. Of all the popes of the fourteenth century, he showed 
the least independence. An apologist of Boniface VIII., 
writing in 1308, recorded this judgment : 2 " The Lord per- 
mitted Clement to be elected, who was more concerned about 
temporal things and in enriching his relatives than was Boni- 
face, in order that by contrast Boniface might seem worthy 
of praise where he would otherwise have been condemned, just 
as the bitter is not known except by the sweet, or cold except 
by heat, or the good except by evil." Villani, who assailed 
both popes, characterized Clement " as licentious, greedy of 
money, a simoniac, who sold in his court every benefice for 
gold." 8 

By a single service did this pope seem to place the Church 
in debt to his pontificate. The book of decretals, known as 
the Clementines, and issued in part by him, was completed by 
his successor, John XXII. 

7. The Pontificate of John XXII. 1316-1334. 

Clement died April 20, 1314. The cardinals met at Car- 
pentras and then at Lyons, and after an interregnum of twenty- 
seven months elected John XXII., 1316-1334, to the papal 
throne. He was then seventy-two, and cardinal-bishop of 

1 Clement's grave is reported to have been opened and looted by the Cal- 
vinists in 1668 or 1677. See Ehrle, p. 139. 

2 Finke : Ann den Tayen Bon. VI1L, p. Ixxxviii. 

8 Chronicle, IX. 69. Villani tells the story that at the death of one of 
Clement's nephews, a cardinal, Clement, in his desire to see him, consulted a 
necromancer. The master of the dark arts had one of the pope's chaplains con- 
ducted by demons to hell, where he was shown a palace, and in it the nephew's 
soul laid on a bed of glowing fire, and near by a place reserved for the pope 
himself. He also relates that the coffin, in which Clement was laid, was burnt, 
and with it the pope's body up to the waist. 


Porto. 1 Dante had written to the conclave begging that it 
elect an Italian pope, but the French influence was irresist- 

Said to be the son of a cobbler of Cahors, short of stature, 2 
with a squeaking voice, industrious and pedantic, John was, 
upon the whole, the most conspicuous figure among the popes 
of the fourteenth century, though not the most able or worthy 
one. He was a man of restless disposition, and kept the papal 
court in constant commotion. The Vatican Archives preserve 
59 volumes of his bulls and other writings. He had been a tu- 
tor in the house of Anjou, and carried the preceptorial method 
into his papal utterances. It was his ambition to be a theo- 
logian as well as pope. He solemnly promised the Italian 
faction in the curia never to mount an ass except to start on 
the road to Rome. But he never left Avignon. His devo- 
tion to France was shown at the very beginning of his reign 
in the appointment of eight cardinals, of whom seven were 

The four notable features of John's pontificate are his 
quarrel with the German emperor, Lewis the Bavarian, his 
condemnation of the rigid party of the Franciscans, his own 
doctrinal heresy, and his cupidity for gold. 

The struggle with Lewis the Bavarian was a little after- 
play compared with the imposing conflicts between the Hohen- 
stauf en and the notable popes of preceding centuries. Europe 
looked on with slight interest at the long-protracted dispute, 
which was more adapted to show the petulance and weakness 
of both emperor and pope than to settle permanently any 
great principle. At Henry VII. 's death, 1313, five of the elec- 
tors gave their votes for Lewis of the house of Wittelsbach, 
and two for Frederick of Hapsburg. Both appealed to the 
new pope, about to be elected. Frederick was crowned by 

1 Villani, IX : 81, gives the suspicious report that the cardinals, weary of 
their inability to make a choice, left it to John, Following the advice of Car- 
dinal Napoleon Orsini, he grasped his supreme chance and elected himself. 
He was crowned at Lyons. 

3 Villani's statement that he was the son of a cobbler is doubted. Ferretus 
of Vicenza says he was "small like Zaccheus." 

62 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

the archbishop of Treves at Bonn, and Lewis by the archbishop 
of Mainz at Aachen. In 1317 John declared that the pope 
was the lawful vicar of the empire so long as the throne was 
vacant, and denied Lewis recognition as king of the Romans on 
the ground of his having neglected to submit his election to 

The battle at Miihldorf, 1322, left Frederick a prisoner in 
his rival's hands. This turn of affairs forced John to take 
more decisive action, and in 1323 was issued against Lewis 
the first of a wearisome and repetitious series of complaints 
and punishments from Avignon. The pope threatened him 
with the ban, claiming authority to approve or set aside an 
emperor's election. 1 A year later he excommunicated Lewis 
and all his supporters. 

In answer to this first complaint of 1 323, Lewis made a 
formal declaration at Niirnberg in the presence of a notary 
and other witnesses that he regarded the empire as inde- 
. pendent of the pope, charged John with heresy, and appealed 
to a general council. The charge of heresy was based on the 
pope's treatment of the Spiritual party among the Francis- 
cans. Condemned by John, prominent Spirituals, Michael 
of Cesena, Ockam and Bonagratia, espoused Lewis 7 cause, 
took refuge at his court, and defended him with their pens. 
The political conflict was thus complicated by a recondite ec- 
clesiastical problem. In 1324 Lewis issued a second appeal, 
written in the chapel of the Teutonic Order in Sachsen- 
hausen, which again renewed the demand for a general council 
and repeated the charge of heresy against the pope. 

The next year, 1325, Lewis suffered a severe defeat from 
Leopold of Austria, who had entered into a compact to put 
Charles IV. of France on the German throne. He went so 
far as to express his readiness, in the compact of Ulm, 1326, 
to surrender the German crown to Frederick, provided he 
himself was confirmed in his right to Italy and the imperial 
dignity. At this juncture Leopold died. 

By papal appointment Robert of Naples was vicar of Rome. 

1 See Mttller: Kampf 'Ludwtgs, etc., I. 61 sqq. Examinatio, approbatio ac 
admonitio, repulsio quoque et reprobatio. 


But Lewis had no idea of surrendering his claims to Italy, 
and, now that he was once again free by Leopold's death, he 
marched across the Alps and was crowned, January 1327, em- 
peror in front of St. Peter's. Sciarra Colonna, as the repre- 
sentative of the people, placed the crown on his head, and two 
bishops administered unction. Villani 1 expresses indigna- 
tion at an imperial coronation conducted without the pope's 
consent as a thing unheard of. Lewis was the first mediaeval 
emperor crowned by the people. A formal trial was insti- 
tuted, and "James of Cahors,who calls himself John XXII." 
was denounced as anti-christ and deposed from the papal 
throne and his effigy carried through the streets and burnt. 2 
John of Corbara, belonging to the Spiritual wing of the 
Franciscans, was elected to the throne just declared vacant, and 
took the name of Nicolas V. He was the first anti-pope since 
the days of Barbarossa. Lewis himself placed the crown upon 
the pontiff's head, and the bishop of Venice performed the cere- 
mony of unction. Nicolas surrounded himself with a col- 
lege of seven cardinals, and was accused of having forthwith 
renounced the principles of poverty and abstemiousness in 
dress and at the table which the day before he had advocated. 
To these acts of violence John replied by pronouncing 
Lewis a heretic and appointing a crusade against him, with 
the promise of indulgence to all taking part in it. Fickle 
Rome soon grew weary of her lay-crowned emperor, who had 
been so unwise as to impose an extraordinary tribute of 
10,000 florins each upon the people, the clergy, and the Jews 
of the city. He retired to the North, Nicolas following him 
with his retinue of cardinals. At Pisa, the emperor being 
present, the anti-pope excommunicated John and summoned 
a general council to Milan. John was again burnt in effigy, 
at the cathedral, and condemned to death for heresy. In 1330 

* X. 65. 

2 The grounds on which John was deposed were his decisions against the 
Spirituals, the use of money and ships, intended for a crusade, to reduce 
Gtenoa, appropriation of the right of appointment to clerical offices, and his 
residence away from Rome. The document is found in Muratori, XIV. f 
1167-1178. For a vivid description of the enthronement and character of 
John of Corbara, see Gregorovius, VI. 153 sqq. 

64 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

Lewis withdrew from Italy altogether, while Nicolas, with a 
cord around his neck, submitted to John. He died in Avi- 
gnon three years later. In 1334, John issued a bull which, 
according to Karl M tiller, was the rudest act of violence done 
up to that time to the German emperor by a pope. 1 This 
fulraination separated Italy from the crown and kingdom 
imperium et regnum of Germany and forbade their being 
reunited in one body. The reason given for this drastic 
measure was the territorial separation of the two provinces. 
Thus was accomplished by a distinct announcement what the 
diplomacy of Innocent III. was the first to make a part of the 
papal policy, and which figured so prominently in the struggle 
between Gregory IX. and Frederick II. 

With his constituency completely lost in Italy, and with 
only an uncertain support in Germany, Lewis now made 
overtures for peace. But the pope was not ready for any- 
thing less than a full renunciation of the imperial power. 
John died 1334, but the struggle was continued through 
the pontificate of his successor, Benedict XII. Philip VI. of 
France set himself against Benedict's measures for reconcili- 
ation with Lewis, and in 1337 the emperor made an alliance 
with England against France. Princes of Germany, making 
the rights of the empire their own, adopted the famous con- 
stitution of Rense, a locality near Mainz, which was con- 
firmed at the Diet of Frankfurt, 1338. It repudiated the 
pope's extravagant temporal claims, and declared that the 
election of an emperor by the electors was final, and did not 
require papal approval. This was the first representative 
German assembly to assert the independence of the empire. 

The interdict was hanging over the German assembly when 
Benedict died, 1342. The battle had gone against Lewis, 
and his supporters were well-nigh all gone from him. A 
submission even more humiliating than that of Henry IV. 
was the only thing left. He sought the favor of Clement VI., 
but in vain. In a bull of April 12, 1343, Clement enumerated 
the emperor's many crimes, and anew ordered him to re- 
nounce the imperial dignity. Lewis wrote, yielding sub- 

I336sqq., 376 sqq., 406. 


mission, but the authenticity of the document was questioned 
at Avignon, probably with the set purpose of increasing the 
emperor's humiliation. Harder conditions were laid down. 
They were rejected by the diet at Frankfurt, 1344. But Ger- 
many was weary, and listened without revulsion to a final 
bull against Lewis, 1346, and a summons to the electors to 
proceed to a new election. The electors, John of Bohemia 
among them, chose Charles IV., John's son. The Bohemian 
king was the blind warrior who met his death on the battle- 
field of Crecy the same year. Before his election, Charles had 
visited Avignon, and promised full submission to the pope's de- 
mands. His continued complacency during his reign justi- 
fied the pope's choice. The struggle was ended with Lewis' 
death a year later, 1347, while he was engaged near Munich 
in a bear-hunt. It was the last conflict of the empire and 
papacy along the old lines laid down by those ecclesiastical 
warriors, Hildebrand and Innocent III. and Gregory IX. 

To return to John XXII., he became a prominent figure in 
the controversy within the Franciscan order over the tenure 
of property, a controversy which had been going on from the 
earliest period between the two parties, the Spirituals, or 
Observants, and the Conventuals. The last testament of St. 
Francis, pleading for the practice of absolute poverty, and 
suppressed in Bonaventura's Life of the saint, 126S, was not 
fully recognized in the bull of Nicolas II I., 1279, which granted 
the Franciscans the right to use property as tenants, while 
forbidding them to hold it in fee simple. With this decision 
the strict party, the Spirituals, were not satisfied, and the 
struggle went on. Coelestine V. attempted to bring peace by 
merging the Spiritual wing with the order of Hermits he 
had founded, but the measure was without success. 

Under Boniface VIII. matters went hard with the Spir- 
ituals. This pope deposed the general, Raymond Gaufredi, 
putting in his place John of Murro, who belonged to the 
laxer wing. Peter John Olivi (d.1298), whose writings were 
widely circulated, had declared himself in favor of Nicolas' 
bull, with the interpretation that the use of property and 
goods was to be the " use of necessity," usus pauper, as 

66 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

opposed to the more liberal use advocated by the Conventuals 
and called usus moderate. Olivi's personal fortunes were 
typical of the fortunes of the Spiritual branch. After his 
death, the attack made against his memory was, if possible, 
more determined, and culminated in the charges preferred at 
Vienne. Murro adopted violent measures, burning Olivi's 
writings, and casting his sympathizers into prison. Other 
prominent Spirituals fled. Angelo Clareno found refuge for 
a time in Greece, returning to Rome, 1305, under the protec- 
tion of the Colonna. 

The case was formally taken up by Clement V., who called a 
commission to Avignon to devise measures to heal the division, 
and gave the Spirituals temporary relief from persecution. 
The proceedings were protracted till the meeting of the 
council in Vienne, when the Conventuals brought up the case 
in the form of an arraignment of Olivi, who had come to be 
regarded almost as a saint. Among the charges were that 
he pronounced the usus pauper to be of the essence of the 
Minorite rule, that Christ was still living at the time the 
lance was thrust into his side, and that the rational soul has 
not the form of a body. Olivi's memory was defended by 
Ubertino da Casale, and the council passed no sentence upon 
his person. 

In the bull Exivi de paradiso, 1 issued 1313, and famous in 
the history of the Franciscan order, Clement seemed to take 
the side of the Spirituals. It forbade the order or any of its 
members to accept bequests, possess vineyards, sell products 
from their gardens, build fine churches, or go to law. It 
permitted only " the use of necessity," usus arctus or pauper, 
and nothing beyond. The Minorites were to wear no shoes, 
ride only in cases of necessity, fast from Nov. 1 until 
Christmas, as well as every Friday, and possess a single 
mantle with a hood and one without a hood. Clement 
ordered the new general, Alexander of Alessandra, to turn 
over to Olivi's followers the convents of Narbonne, Carcas- 

1 It is uncertain whether this bull was made a part of the proceedings of 
the (Ecumenical Council of Vienne. See Hefele, VI. 660, who decides for it, 
and Ehrle, Archiv, 1885, p. 640 sqq. 


sonne and Beziers, but also ordered the Inquisition to punish 
the Spirituals who refused submission. 

In spite of the papal decree, the controversy was still being 
carried on within the order with great heat, when John XXII. 
came to the throne. In the decretal Quorumdam exegit^ and in 
the bull Sancta romana et universalis ecclesia, Dec. 30, 1317, 
John took a positive position against the Spirituals. A few 
weeks later, he condemned a formal list of their errors and 
abolished all the convents under Spiritual management. 
From this time on dates the application of the name 
Fraticelli l to the Spirituals. They refused to submit, and 
took the position that even a pope had no right to modify the 
Rule of St. Francis. Michael of Cesena, the general of the 
order, defended them. Sixty-four of their number were sum- 
moned to Avignon. Twenty-five refused to yield, and 
passed into the hands of the Inquisition. Four were burnt 
as martyrs at Marseilles, May 7, 1318. Others fled to Sicily. 2 

The chief interest of the controversy was now shifted to 
the strictly theological question whether Christ and his 
Apostles observed complete poverty. This dispute threatened 
to rend the wing of the Conventuals itself. Michael of Cesena, 
Ockam, and others, took the position that Christ and his 
Apostles not only held no property as individuals, but held 
none in common. John, opposing this view, gave as arguments 
the gifts of the Magi, that Christ possessed clothes and bought 
food, the purse of Judas, and Paul's labor for a living. In the 
bull Cum inter nonnullosi 1323, and other bulls, John declared 
it heresy to hold that Christ and the Apostles held no posses- 
sions. Those who resisted this interpretation were pronounced, 
1324, rebels and heretics. John went farther, and gave back to 
the order the right of possessing goods in fee simple, a right 
which Innocent IV. had denied, and he declared that in things 
which disappear in the using, such as eatables, no distinction 
can be made between their use and their possession. In 1826 
John pronounced Olivi's commentary on the Apocalypse 

1 Hefele, VI 681. Ehrle: Die Spiritual in Archiv, 1885, pp. 609-614. 
f Bhrle : Arckto, pp. 166-168. He adduces acts of Inquisition against the 
Spirituals in Umbria, In the vicinity of Assiai, as late as 1341. 

68 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

heretical. The three Spiritual leaders, Cesena, Ockam, and 
Bonagratia were seized and held in prison until 1328, when 
they escaped and fled to Lewis the Bavarian at Pisa. It was 
at this time that Ockam was said to have used to the em- 
peror the famous words, " Do thou defend me with the sword 
and I will defend thee with the pen" tu me defended gladio, 
ego te defendant calamo. They were deposed from their offices 
and included in the ban fulminated against the anti-pope, 
Peter of Corbara. Later, Cesena submitted to the pope, as 
Ockam is also said to have done shortly before his death. 
Cesena died at Munich, 1342. He committed the seal of the 
order to Ockam. On his death-bed he is said to have cried 
out : " My God, what have I done ? I have appealed against 
him who is the highest on the earth. But look, O Father, at 
the spirit of truth that is in me which lias not erred through 
the lust of the flesh but from great zeal for the seraphic order 
and out of love for poverty." Bonagratia also died in Munich. 1 
Later in the fourteenth century the Regular Observance 
grew again to considerable proportions, and in the beginning 
of the fifteenth century its fame was revived by the flaming 
preachers Bernardino of Siena and John of Capistrano. The 
peace of the Franciscan order continued to be the concern of 
pope after pope until, in 1517, LeoX. terminated the struggle 
of three centuries by formally recognizing two distinct societies 
within the Franciscan body. The moderate wing was placed 
under the Master-General of the Conventual Minorite Broth- 
ers, and was confirmed in the right to hold property. The 
strict or Observant wing was placed under a Minister-Gen- 
eral of the Whole Order of St. Francis. 2 The latter takes 
precedence in processions and at other great functions, and 
holds his office for six years. 

i See Riezler, p. 124. 

3 Magister-generalis fratrum minorum conventualium and minister-gen- 
eralis totius ordinis S. Francesci. The Capuchins, who are Franciscans, 
were recognized as a distinct order by Paul V., 1619. Among the other schis- 
matic Franciscan orders are the Recollect Fathers of France, who proceeded 
from the Recollect Convent of Nevers, and were recognized as a special body 
by Clement VIII., 1602. These monks were prominent in mission work 
among the Indians in North America. 


If the Spiritual Franciscans had been capable of taking 
secret delight in an adversary's misfortunes, they would have 
had occasion for it in the widely spread charge that John 
was a heretic. At any rate, he came as near being a heretic 
as a pope can be. His heresy concerned the nature of 
the beatific vision after death. In a sermon on All Souls', 
1331, he announced that the blessed dead do not see God 
until the general resurrection. In at least two more sermons he 
repeated this utterance. John, who was much given to theol- 
ogizing, Ockam declared to be wholly ignorant in theology. 1 
This Schoolman, Cesena, and others pronounced the view 
heretical. John imprisoned an English Dominican who 
preached against him, and so certain was he of his case that 
he sent the Franciscan general, Gerardus Odonis, to Paris to 
get the opinion of the university. 

The King, Philip VI., took a warm interest in the subject, 
opposed the pope, and called a council of theologians at Vin- 
cennes to give its opinion. It decided that ever since the Lord 
descended into hades and released souls from that abode, the 
righteous have at death immediately entered upon the vision 
of the divine essence of the Trinity. 2 Among the supporters 
of this decision was Nicolas of Lyra. When official an- 
nouncement of the decision reached the pope, he summoned a 
council at Avignon and set before it passages from the Fathers 
for and against his view. They sat for five days, in Decem- 
ber, 1333. John then made a public announcement, which was 
communicated to the king and queen of France, that he had 
not intended to say anything in conflict with the Fathers arid 
the orthodox Church and, if he had done so, he retracted his 

The question was authoritatively settled by Benedict XII. 
in the bull Benedictus deus, 1336, which declared that the 
blessed dead saints, the Apostles, virgins, martyrs, con- 
fessors who need no purgatorial cleansing are, after death 
and before the resurrection of their bodies at the general 

1 In facilitate theologies omn ino fuit ignarus. See Mttller : JfiTamp/, etc., I. 
24, note. 

2 Mansi, XXV. 982-984. 

70 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

judgment, with Christ and the angels, and that they behold 
the divine essence with naked vision. 1 Benedict declared 
that John died while he was preparing a decision. 

The financial policy of John XXII. and his successors 
merits a chapter by itself. Here reference may be made to 
John's private fortune. He has had the questionable fame 
of not only having amassed a larger sum than any of his 
predecessors, but of having died possessed of fabulous wealth. 
Gregorovius calls him the Midas of Avignon. According 
to Villani, he left behind him 18,000,000 gold florins and 
7,000,000 florins' worth of jewels and ornaments, in all 25,- 
000,000 florins, or $60,000,000 of our present coinage. This 
chronicler concludes with the remark that the words were 
no longer remembered which the Good Man in the Gospels 
spake to his disciples, "Lay up for yourselves treasure in 
heaven." 2 Recent investigations seem to cast suspicion upon 
this long-held view as an exaggeration. John's hoard may 
have amounted to not more than 750,000 florins, or $2,000,- 
000 8 of our money. If this be a safe estimate, it is still 
true that John was a shrewd financier and perhaps the rich- 
est man in Europe. 

When John died he was ninety years old. 

l Diviname88entiam immediate, se bene et dare et aperte illi* ostendentem. 
Mansi, XXV. 986. 

a XI. 20. Another writer, Galvaneus de La Flainma, Muratori, XII. 1009 
(quoted by Haller, Papsttum, p. 104), says, John left 22,000,000 florins 
besides other u unrecorded treasure. 11 This writer adds, the world did not 
have a richer Christian in it than John XXII. 

8 This is the figure reached by Ehrle, Die 25 Millionrn iwi Schatz Johann 
XXII. , Archiv, 1889, pp. 155-160. It is based upon the contents of 15 coffers, 
opened in the year 1342 at the death of Benedict XII. These coffers con- 
tained John's treasure, and at that time yielded 760,000 florins. But it is 
manifestly uncertain how far John's savings had been reduced by Benedict, 
or whether these coffers were all that were left by John. For example, at his 
consecration, Benedict gave 100,000 florins to his cardinals, and 160,000 to the 
churches at Rome, and it is quite likely he drew upon John's hoard. The 
gold mitres, rings, and other ornaments which John's thrift amassed, were 
stored in other chests. Villani got his report from his brother, a Florentine 
banker in the employ of the curia at Avignon. It is difficult to understand 
how, in making his statement, he should have gone so wide of the truth as 
Ehrle suggests. 


8. The Papal Office Assailed. 

To the pontificate of John XXII. belongs a second group 
of literary assailants of the papacy. Going beyond Dante 
and John of Paris, they attacked the pope's spiritual func- 
tions. Their assaults were called forth by the conflict with 
Lewis the Bavarian and the controversy with the Franciscan 
Spirituals. Lewis' court became a veritable nest of anti- 
papal agitation and the headquarters of pamphleteering. 
Marsiglius of Padua was the cleverest and boldest of these 
writers, Ockam a Schoolman rather than a practical 
thinker the most copious. Michael of Cesena * and Bona- 
gratia also made contributions to this literature. 

Ockam sets forth his views in two works, The Dialogue 
and the Sight Questions. The former is ponderous in thought 
and a monster in size. 2 It is difficult, if at times possible, to 
detect the author's views in the mass of cumbersome disputa- 
tion. These views seem to be as follows : The papacy is not 
an institution which is essential to the being of the Church. 
Conditions arise to make it necessary to establish national 
churches. 8 The pope is not infallible. Even a legitimate 
pope may hold to heresy. So it was with Peter, who was 
judaizing, and had to be rebuked by Paul, Liberius, who was 
an Arian, and Leo, who was arraigned for false doctrine by 
Hilary of Poictiers. Sylvester II. made a compact with the 
devil. One or the other, Nicolas III. or John XXII., was a 
heretic, for the one contradicted the other. A general coun- 
cil may err just as popes have erred. So did the second 
Council of Lyons and the Council of Vienne, which condemned 
the true Minorites. The pope may be pronounced a heretic 
by a council or, if a council fails in its duty, the cardinals 

1 Riezler, p. 247 sq. Three of these writings are in Goldast's Monarchia II., 
1236 sqq. Riezler's work, Die literarischen Widersacher dtr Pdpste is the best 
treatment of the subject of this chapter. 

2 The Dialogue, which is printed in Goldast, is called by Riezler an almost 
unreadable monster, tin kaum Ubersehbares Monstrum. 

* Quod non eat necease, ut sub Christo sit unus rector totius ecclesice sed 
sufficit quod sint plures diversos regentes provincios. Quoted by Haller, p. 80. 

72 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

may pronounce the decision. In case the cardinals fail, the 
right to do so belongs to the temporal prince. Christ did 
not commit the faith to the pope and the hierarchy, but to 
the Church, and somewhere within the Church the truth is 
always held and preserved. Temporal power did not origi- 
nally belong to the pope. This is proved by Constantino's 
donation, for what Constantino gave, he gave for the first time. 
Supreme power in temporal and spiritual things is not in a 
single hand. The emperor has full power by virtue of his 
election, and does not depend for it upon unction or corona- 
tion by the pope or any earthly confirmation of any kind. 

More distinct and advanced were the utterances of Marsi- 
glius of Padua. His writings abound in incisive thrusts against 
the prevailing ecclesiastical system, and lay down the principles 
of a new order. In the preparation of his chief work, the 
Defence of the Faith, Defensor pads, he had the help of 
John of Jandun. 1 Both writers were clerics, but neither of them 
monks. Born about 1270 in Padua, Marsiglius devoted him- 
self to the study of medicine, and in 1312 was rector of the 
University of Paris. In 1325 or 1326 he betook himself to the 
court of Lewis the Bavarian. The reasons are left to surmisal. 
He acted as the emperor's physician. In 1328 he accompanied 
the emperor to Rome, and showed full sympathy with the 
measures taken to establish the emperor's authority. He joined 
in the ceremonies of the emperor's coronation, the deposition 
of John XXII. and the elevation of the anti-pope, Peter of 
Corbara. The pope had already denounced Marsiglius and 
John of Jandun 2 as " sons of perdition, the sons of Belial, those 
pestiferous individuals, beasts from the abyss," and summoned 
the Romans to make them prisoners. Marsiglius was made 

1 M tiller, 1 . 368, upon the basis of a note in a MS. copy in Vienna, places its 
composition before June 24, 1324 ; Riezler between 1324-1326. John of Jan- 
dun's name is associated with the composition of the book in the papal bulls. 
However, the first person singular, ego, is used throughout. According to 
Innocent VI, Marsiglius was much influenced by Ockam, then the leading 
teacher in France. This is inherently probable from their personal associa- 
tion in Paris and at the emperor's court and the community of many of their 
views. See Haller, p. 78. John of Jandun died probably 1328. See Riez- 
ler, p. 56. See the bull of Oct. 23, 1327, Mirbt, Quellen, p. 152. 


vicar of Rome by the emperor, and remained true to the prin- 
ciples stated in his tract, even when the emperor became a sup- 
pliant to the Avignon court. Lewis even went so far as to 
express to John XXII. his readiness to withdraw his protec- 
tion from Marsiglius and the leaders of the Spirituals. Later, 
when his position was more hopeful, he changed his attitude 
and gave them his protection at Munich. But again, in his 
letter submitting himself to Clement VI., 1343, the emperor 
denied holding the errors charged against Marsiglius and 
John, and declared his object in retaining them at his court 
had been to lead them back to the Church. The Paduan 
died before 1343. l 

The personal fortunes of Marsiglius are of small historical 
concern compared with his book, which he dedicated to the 
emperor. The volume, which was written in two months, 2 was 
as audacious as any of the earlier writings of Luther. For 
originality and boldness of statement the Middle Ages has 
nothing superior to offer. To it may be compared in modern 
times Janus' attack on the doctrine of papal infallibility at 
the time of the Vatican Council. 8 Its Scriptural radicalism 
was in itself a literary sensation. 

In condemning the work, John XXII., 1327, pronounced as 
contrary " to apostolic truth and all law " its statements that 
Christ paid the stater to the Roman government as a matter 

1 In that year Clement spoke of Marsiglius as dead, Riezler, p. 122. With 
Ockam, Marsiglius defended the marriage of Lewis 1 son to Margaret of 
Maultasch, in spite of the parties being within the bounds of consanguinity 
forbidden by the Church. His defence is found in Goldast, II. 1383-1391. 
For Ockam's tract, see Riezler, p. 254. 

2 Riezler, p. 36. It contains 150 folio pages in Goldast. Riezler, 193 sq., 
gives a list of MS. copies. Several French translations appeared. Gregory 
XI. in 1376 complained of one of them. An Italian translation of 1363 is 
found in a MS. at Florence, Engl. Hist. Rev., 1905, p. 302. The work was 
translated into English under the title The Defence of Peace translated out 
of Latin into English by Wyllyam Marshall, London, R. Wyer, 1635. 

8 Hergenrother-Kirsch, II. 756, says : Unerhort in der christlichen Welt 
waren die ktihnen Behauptungen die sie zu Gunsten ihres Beschutzers auf> 
stellten. Pastor, I. 85, says that Marsiglius' theory of the omnipotence of 
the state cut at the root of all individual and Church liberty and surpassed 
in boldness, novelty, and keenness all the attacks which the position claimed 
by the Church in the world had been called upon to resist up to that time. 

74 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

of obligation, that Christ did not appoint a vicar, that an em- 
peror has the right to depose a pope, and that the orders of the 
hierarchy are not of primitive origin. Marsiglius had not 
spared epithets in dealing with John, whom he called " the 
great dragon, the old serpent." Clement VI. found no less 
than 240 heretical clauses in the book, and declared that he had 
never read a worse heretic than Marsiglius. The papal con- 
demnations were reproduced by the University of Paris, which 
singled out for reprobation the statements that Peter is not 
the head of the Church, that the pope may be deposed, and that 
he has no right to inflict punishments without the emperor's 
consent. 1 

The Defensor pads was a manifesto against the spiritual as 
well as the temporal assumptions of the papacy and against the 
whole hierarchical organization of the Church. Its title is 
shrewdly chosen in view of the strifes between cities and states 
going on at the time the book was written, and due, as it 
claimed, to papal ambition and interference. The peace of 
the Christian world would never be established so long as the 
pope's false claims were accepted. The main positions are the 
following : 2 

The state, which was developed out of the family, exists 
that men may live well and peaceably. The people themselves 
are the source of authority, and confer the right to exercise it 
upon the ruler whom they select. The functions of the priest- 
hood are spiritual and educational. Clerics are called upon 
to teach and to warn. In all matters of civil misdemeanor 
they are responsible to the civil officer as other men are. 
They should follow their Master by self-denial. As St. 
Bernard said, the pope needs no wealth or outward display to 
be a true successor of Peter. 

The function of binding and loosing is a declarative, not a 
judicial, function. To God alone belongs the power to for- 

i Chartul. Univ. Parts., II. 301. 

8 Mirbt : Quellen, pp. 160-152, presents a convenient summary of Part III. of 
the Defensor. In this part a resume* is given by the author of the preceding 
portion of the work. Marsiglius quotes Aristotle and other classic writers, 
Augustine and other Fathers, Hugo of St. Victor and other Schoolmen, but 
he ignores Thomas Aquinas, and never even mentions his name. 


give sins and to punish. No bishop or priest has a right to 
excommunicate or interdict individual freedom without the 
consent of the people or its representative, the civil legislator. 
The power to inflict punishments inheres in the congregation 
" of the faithful " fidelium. Christ said, " if thy brother 
offend against thee, tell it to the Church." He did not say, 
tell it to the priest. Heresy may be detected as heresy by the 
priest, but punishment for heresy belongs to the civil official 
and is determined upon the basis of the injury likely to be done 
by the offence to society. According to the teaching of the 
Scriptures, no one can be compelled by temporal punishment 
and death to observe the precepts of the divine law. 1 

General councils are the supreme representatives of the 
Christian body, but even councils may err. In them laymen 
should sit as well as clerics. Councils alone have the right 
to canonize saints. 

As for the pope, he is the head of the Church, not by divine 
appointment, but only as he is recognized by the state. The 
claim he makes to fulness of power, plenitudo poteatatis, con- 
tradicts the true nature of the Church. To Peter was com- 
mitted no greater authority than was committed to the other 
Apostles. 2 Peter can be called the Prince of the Apostles 
only on the ground that he was older than the rest or more 
steadfast than they. He was the bishop of Antioch, not 
the founder of the Roman bishopric. Nor is his presence in 
Rome susceptible of proof. The pre-eminence of the bishop 
of Rome depends upon the location of his see at the capital 
of the empire. As for sacerdotal power, the pope has no 
more of it than any other cleric, as Peter had no more of it 
than the other Apostles. 8 

The grades of the hierarchy are of human origin. Bishops 

1 Ad observanda prcecepta divines legis poena vel supplicio temporali nemo 
ev angelica scriptura compelli prcecipitur, Part III. 3. 

2 Nullam potestatem eoque minus Goactivam jurisdictionem habuit Petrus 
a Deo immediate super apostolos reliquos, II. 15. This is repeated again and 

8 JVbn plus sacerdotalis auctoritatis essentialis habet Rom. episcopus, quam 
alter sacerdos quilibet sicut neque beatus Petrus amplius ex hac habuit 
ceteri* apostoli*, II. 14. 

76 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

and priests were originally equal. Bishops derive their au- 
thority immediately from Christ. 

False is the pope's claim to jurisdiction over princes and 
nations, a claim which was the fruitful source of national 
strifes and wars, especially in Italy. If necessary, the em- 
peror may depose a pope. This is proved by the judgment 
passed by Pilate upon Christ. The state may, for proper 
reasons, limit the number of clerics. The validity of Constan- 
tino's donation Marsiglius rejected, as Dante and John of Paris 
had done before, but he did not surmise that the Isidorean 
decretals were an unblushing forgery, a discovery left for 
Laurentius Valla to make a hundred years later. 

As for the Scriptures, Marsiglius declares them to be the ulti- 
mate source of authority. They do not derive that authority 
from the Church. The Church gets its authority from them. 
In cases of disputed interpretation, it is for a general council 
to settle what the true meaning of Scripture is. 1 Obedience 
to papal decretals is not a condition of salvation. If that 
were so, how is it that Clement V. could make the bull Unam 
ganctam inoperative for France and its king? Did not that 
bull declare that submission to the pope is for every creature 
a condition of salvation ! Can a pope set aside a condition 
of salvation ? The case of Liberius proves that popes may be 
heretics. As for the qualifications of bishops, archbishops, 
and patriarchs, not one in ten of them is a doctor of theology. 
Many of the lower clergy are not even acquainted with gram- 
mar. Cardinals and popes are chosen not from the ranks of 
theologians, but lawyers, causidici. Youngsters are made car- 
dinals who love pleasure and are ignorant in studies. 

Marsiglius quotes repeatedly such passages as " My king- 
dom is not of this world," John 17 : 36, and " Render unto 
Caesar the things which are Caesar's ; and to God the things 
which are God's," Matt. 22 : 21. These passages arid others, 
such as John 6 : 15, 19 : 11, Luke 12 : 14, Matt. 17 : 27, Rom. 
13, he opposes to texts which were falsely interpreted to the 
advantage of the hierarchy, such as Matt. 16 : 19, Luke 22 : 38, 
John 21 : 15-17. 

1 Interpretatio ex communi concilia fldelium fatta, etc., Pan III. 1. 


If we overlook his doctrine of the supremacy of the state 
over the Church, the Paduan's views correspond closely with 
those held in Protestant Christendom to-day. Christ, he 
said, excluded his Apostles, disciples, and bishops or pres- 
byters from all earthly dominion, both by his example and his 
words. 1 The abiding principles of the Defensor are the final 
authority of the Scriptures, the parity of the priesthood and 
its obligation to civil law, the human origin of the papacy, the 
exclusively spiritual nature of priestly functions, and the body 
of Christian people in the state or Church as the ultimate 
source of authority on earth. 

Marsiglius has been called by Catholic historians the fore- 
runner of Luther and Calvin. 8 He has also been called by 
one of them the "exciting genius of modern revolution." 8 
Both of these statements are not without truth. His pro- 
gramme was not a scheme of reform. It was a proclamation 
of complete change such as the sixteenth century witnessed. A 
note in a Turin manuscript represents Gerson as saying that 
the book is wonderfully well grounded and that the author was 
most expert in Aristotle and also in theology, and went to the 
roots of things. 4 

The tractarian of Padua and Thomas Aquinas were only 50 
years apart. But the difference between the searching epi- 
grams of the one and the slow, orderly argument of the other 
is as wide as the East is from the West, the directness of mod- 

1 Exdusit se ipsum et app. ac distipulos etiam sues ipsorumque successors, 
consequenter episcopos sen presbyteros, ab omni principatu sen mundano re- 
gimine exemplo et sermone, II. 4. 

a Dollinger : Kirchengesch. II. 259, 2d ed., 1843, says, In the Defensor the 
Calvinistic system was, in respect to Church power and constitution, already 
marked out' ' Pastor, 1 . 85, says, * 4 If Calvin depended upon any of his prede- 
cessors for his principles of Church government, it was upon the keen writer 
of the fourteenth century. 1 ' 

8 Pastor, 1. 84, shifts this notoriety from Huss to Marsiglius. Riezler, p. 232, 
and Haller, p. 77, compare Marsiglius' keenness of intellect with the Reform- 
ers', but deny to him their religious warmth. 

4 Eat liber mirabiliter bene fundatus. Et fuit homo multum peritus in 
doctrina Aristoteleia, etc., Engl Hist. Rev., p. 298. The Turin MS. dates 
from 1416, that is, contemporary with Gerson. In this MS. John of Paris' De 
potentate is bound up with the Defensor. 

78 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1617. 

ern thought from the cumbersome method of mediaeval scho- 
lasticism. It never occurred to Thomas Aquinas to think out 
beyond the narrow enclosure of Scripture interpretation built 
up by other Schoolmen and mediaeval popes. He buttressed 
up the regime he found realized before him. He used the old 
misinterpretations of Scripture and produced no new idea on 
government. Marsiglius, independent of the despotism of 
ecclesiastical dogma, went back to the free and elastic prin- 
ciples of the Apostolic Church government. He broke the 
moulds in which the ecclesiastical thinking of centuries had 
been cast, and departed from Augustine in claiming for here- 
tics a rational and humane treatment. The time may yet 
come when the Italian people will follow him as the herald 
of a still better order than that which they have, and set aside 
the sacerdotal theory of the Christian ministry as an inven- 
tion of man. 1 

* Germany furnished a strong advocate of the independent 
rights of the emperor, in Lupold of Bebenburg, who died in 
1363. He remained dean of Wiirzburg until he was made 
bishop of Bamberg in 1353. But he did not attack the spir- 
itual jurisdiction of the Apostolic See. Lupold's chief work 
was The Rights of the Kingdom and Empire dejuriluaregni 
et imperil, written after the declarations of Reuse. It has 
been called the oldest attempt at a theory of the rights of the 
German state. 2 Lupold appeals to the events of history. 

In defining the rights of the empire, this author asserts that 
an election is consummated by the majority of the electors and 
that the emperor does not stand in need of confirmation by 
the pope. He holds his authority independently from God. 
Charlemagne exercised imperial functions before he was 

1 Compared with Wyclif, a pamphleteer as keen as he, Marsiglius did not 
enter into the merits of distinctly theological doctrine nor see the deep con- 
nection between the dogma of transubstantiation and sacramental penance and 
papal tyranny as the English reformer did. But so far as questions of gov- 
ernment are concerned, he went as far as Wyclif or farther. See the com- 
parison, as elaborated by Poole, p. 275. 

2 Der dlteste Versuch einer Theorie des deutschen Staatsrecht*, Riezler, 
p. 180. Two other works by Lupold have come down to us. See Riezler, 
pp. 180-192. 


anointed and crowned by Leo. The oath the emperor takes 
to the pope is not the oath of fealty such as a vassal renders, 
but a promise to protect him and the Church. The pope has 
no authority to depose the emperor. His only prerogative is 
to announce that he is worthy of deposition. The right to 
depose belongs to the electors. As for Constantino's dona- 
tion, it is plain Constantino did not confer the rule of the 
West upon the bishop of Rome, for Constantino divided both 
the West and the East among his sons. Later, Theodosius 
and other emperors exercised dominion in Rome. The notice 
of Constantino's alleged gift to Sylvester has come through 
the records of Sylvester and has the appearance of being 

The papal assailants did not have the field all to them- 
selves. The papacy also had vigorous literary champions. 
Chief among them were Augustinus Triumphus and Alva- 
rus Pelagius. 1 The first dedicated his leading work to John 
XXII., and the second wrote at the pope's command. The 
modern reader will find in these tracts the crassest exposi- 
tion of the extreme claims of the papacy, satisfying to the 
most enthusiastic ultramontane, but calling for apology from 
sober Catholic historians. 2 

1 For the papal tracts by Petrus de Palude and Konrad of Megenberg, d. 
1374, see Riezler, p. 287 sqq. The works are still unpublished. Konrad's 
Planctus ecclesice is addressed to Benedict in these lines, which make the 
pope out to be the summit of the earth, the wonder of the world, the door- 
keeper of heaven, a treasury of delights, the only sun for the world. 

41 Flos et apex mundi, qui totius ease rotundi 
Nectare dulcorum conditus aromate morum 
Orbis papa stupor, clausor call et reserator, 
Tu sidus clarum, thesaurus deliciarum 
Sedes sanctapolus, tu mundo sol modo solus." 

* Pastor, I. 85. Hergenrother-Kirsch, II. 767, complains that these two 
authors push matters beyond the limits of truth, " making the pope a semi- 
god, the absolute ruler of the world. 11 See Haller, p. 82 sq. Haller says it 
is a common thing among the common people in Italy for a devout man to 
call the pope a god upon earth, un Dio in terra. One of the smaller tracts 
already referred to is printed by Finke in Aus den Tagen, etc., LXIX-XCIX, 
and three others by Scholz, Publizistik, pp. 486-616. See Scholz's criticism, 
pp. 172-189. Finke, p. 260, is in doubt about the authorship. 

80 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Triumphus, an Italian, born in Ancona, 1243, made arch- 
bishop of Nazareth and died at Naples, 1328, was a zealous 
advocate of Boniface VIII. His leading treatise, The 
Power of the Church, Summa de potestate ecclesiastica, 
vindicates John XXII. for his decision on the question of 
evangelical poverty and for his opposition to the emperor's 
dominion in Italy. 1 The pope has unrestricted power on the 
earth. It is so vast that even he himself cannot know fully 
what he is able to do. 2 His judgment is the judgment of God. 
Their tribunals are one. 8 His power of granting indulgences 
is so great that, if he so wished, he could empty purgatory 
of its denizens provided that conditions were complied with. 4 

In spiritual matters he may err, because he remains a man, 
and when he holds to heresy, he ceases to be pope. Council 
cannot depose him nor any other human tribunal, for the 
pope is above all and can be judged by none. But, being a 
heretic, he ceases, ipso facto, to be pope, and the condition 
then is as it would be after one pope is dead and his succes- 
sor not yet elected. 

The pope himself may choose an emperor, if he so please, 
and may withdraw the right of election from the electors or 
depose them from office. As vicar of God, he is above all 
kings and princes. 

The Spanish Franciscan, Alvarus Pelagius, was not always 
as extravagant as his Augustinian contemporary. 5 He was 
professor of law at Perugia. He fled from Rome at the approach 
of Lewis the Bavarian, 1328, was then appointed papal peni- 

1 For edd. of Triumphus 1 tract, see Potthast, Bibl. Hist, under Trium- 
phus. Riezler, p. 286, dates the tract 1324-1328, Haller, p. 83, 1322, Scholz, 
p. 172, 1320. See Poole, 262 sq. 

2 Nee credo, quod papa possit scire totum quod potest facere per potentiam 
suam, 32. 3, quoted by Pcttlinger, Papstthum, p. 433. 

8 This famous passage runs sententia papas sententia Dei una sententia 
eat, quid unum consistorium est ipsius papa et ipsius Dei . . . cujus con- 
sistorii claviger et ostiarius est ipse papa. See Schwab, Gerson, p. 24. 

4 Totum purgatorium evacuare potest, 3. 23. Dollinger, p. 451, says of 
Triumphus' tract that on almost every page the Church is represented as a 
dwarf with the head of a giant, that is, the pope. 

6 He incorporated into his work entire sections from James of Viterbo, De 
regimine christiano, Scholz, p. 151. 


tentiary at Avignon, and later bishop of the Portuguese dio- 
cese of Silves. His Lament over the Church, de planctu 
ecclesice, 1 while exalting the pope to the skies, bewails the 
low spiritual estate into which the clergy and the Church had 
fallen. Christendom, he argues, which is but one kingdom, 
can have but one head, the pope. Whoever does not accept 
him as the head does not accept Christ. And whosoever, 
with pure and believing eye, sees the pope, sees Christ him- 
self. 2 Without communion with the pope there is no salva- 
tion. He wields both swords as Christ did, and in him the 
passage of Jer. 1:10 is fulfilled, " I have this day set thee 
over the nations and over the kingdoms to pluck up 
and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build 
and to plant." Unbelievers, also, Alvarus asserts to be le- 
gally under the pope's jurisdiction, though they may not be 
so in fact, and the pope may proceed against them as God 
did against the Sodomites. Idolaters, Jews, and Saracens are 
alike amenable to the pope's authority and subject to his 
punishments. He rules, orders, disposes and judges all 
things as he pleases. His will is highest wisdom, and what 
he pleases to do has the force of law. 3 Wherever the su- 
preme pontiff is, there is the Roman Church, and he cannot 
be compelled to remain in Rome. 4 He is the source of all 
law and may decide what is the right. To doubt this means 
exclusion from life eternal. 

As the vicar of Christ, the pope is supreme over the state. 
He confers the sword which the prince wields. As the body 
is subject to the soul, so princes are subject to the pope. 
Constantine's donation made the pope, in fact, monarch over 
the Occident. He transferred the empire to Charlemagne in 
trust. The emperor's oath is an oath of fealty and homage. 

1 Dollinger, p. 433, places its composition in 1329, Riezler, 1331, Haller, be- 
tween 1330-1332. Alvarus issued three editions, the third at Santiago, 1340. 

2 Verepapa representat Christum in terris, utqui videt cum oculo contem- 
plative etfideli videat et Christum, I. 13. 

8 Apud eumestpro ratione voluntas, et quod ei placet ley is habet vigorem, 
I. 46. 

* Unum est consistorium et tribunal Christi et papa, 1.20. Ubicunque est 
papa, ibi eat eccles. Bom. . . , Non cogitur stare JBomcc, 1. 31. 

82 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

The views of Augustinus Triumphus and Alvarus followed 
the papal assertion and practice of centuries, and the assent 
or argument of the Schoolmen. Marsiglius had the sanction 
of Scripture rationally interpreted, and his views were con- 
firmed by the experiences of history. After the lapse of 
nearly 500 years, opinion in Christendom remains divided, 
and the most extravagant language of Triumphus and Alva- 
rus is applauded, and Marsiglius, the exponent of modern 
liberty and of the historical sense of Scripture, continues to 
be treated as a heretic. 

9. The Financial Policy of the Avignon Popes. 

The most notable feature of the Avignon period of the pa- 
pacy, next to its subserviency to France, was the development 
of the papal financial system and the unscrupulous traffic 
which it plied in spiritual benefits and ecclesiastical offices. 
The theory was put into practice that every spiritual favor has 
its price in money. It was John XXII. 's achievement to re- 
duce the taxation of Christendom to a finely organized system. 

The papal court had a proper claim for financial support on 
all parts of the Latin Church, for it ministered to all. This 
just claim gave way to a practice which made it seem as if 
Christendom existed to sustain the papal establishment in a 
state of luxury and ease. Avignon took on the aspect of an 
exchange whose chief business was getting money, a vast bu- 
reau where privileges, labelled as of heavenly efficacy, were 
sold for gold. Its machinery for collecting moneys was more 
extensive and intricate than the machinery of any secular 
court of the age. To contemporaries, commercial transactions 
at the central seat of Christendom seemed much more at home 
than services of religious devotion. 

Themindof John XXII. ran naturally to the counting-house 
and ledger system. 1 He came from Cahors, the town noted for 
its brokers and bankers. Under his favor the seeds of com- 

1 Holler says, p. 108, the characteristic of John's pontificate was finance, 
der Fiskalismus. Tangl, p. 40, compares his commercial instincts to the 
concern for high ideals which animated Gregory VII,, Alexander III., and In- 
nocent III. See vol. V, I., pp. 787, sqq. 


mercialisra in the dispensation of papal appointments sown 
in preceding centuries grew to ripe fruitage. Simony was 
an old sin. Gregory VII. fought against it. John legalized 
its practice. 

Freewill offerings and Peter's pence had been made to 
popes from of old. States, held as fiefs of the papal chair, had 
paid fixed tribute. For the expenses of the crusades, Inno- 
cent III. had inaugurated the system of taxing the entire 
Church. The receipts from this source developed the love of 
money at the papal court and showed its power, and, no mat- 
ter how abstemious a pope might be in his own habits, greed 
grew like a weed in his ecclesiastical household. St. Ber- 
nard, d. 1153, complained bitterly of the cupidity of the 
Romans, who made every possible monetary gain out of the 
spiritual favors of which the Vatican was the dispenser. By 
indulgence, this appetite became more and more exacting, and 
under John and his successors the exploitation of Christendom 
was reduced by the curia to a fine art. 

The theory of ecclesiastical appointments, held in the Avi- 
gnon period, was that, by reason of the fulness of power 
which resides in the Apostolic See, the pope may dispense all 
the dignities and benefices of the Christian world. The pope 
is absolute in his own house, that is, the Church. 

This principle had received its full statement from Clement 
IV., 1265. 1 Clement's bull declared that the supreme pontiff 
is superior to any customs which were in vogue of filling 
Church offices and conflicted with his prerogative. In partic- 
ular he made it a law that all offices, dignities, and benefices 
were subject to papal appointment which became vacant apud 
sedem apostolicam or in curia, that is, while the holders were 
visiting the papal court. This law was modified by Gregory 
X. at the Council of Lyons, 1274, in such a way as to restore 
the right of election, provided the pope failed to make an ap- 
pointment within a month. 2 Boniface VIII., 1295, again ex- 

1 Licet ecclesiarum. See Lib. sextus, III. 4, 2. Friedberg's ed., II. 102, 
Lux, p. 5, says romanus pontifex supremus collator, ad quern plenaria de 
omnibus totius orbts beneficiis eccles. dispositio jure naturo pertinet, etc. 

2 Lux, p. 12 ; Hefele : Conciliengesch. VI. 151. 

84 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1617. 

tended the enactment by putting in the pope's hands all livings 
whose occupants died within two days' journey of the curia, 
wherever it might at the time be. 1 Innocent IV. was the 
first pope to exercise the right of reservation or collation on 
a large scale. In 1248, out of 20 places in the cathedral of 
Constance, 17 were occupied by papal appointees, and there 
were 14 " expectants " under appointment in advance of the 
deaths of the occupants. In 1255, Alexander IV. limited the 
number of such expectants to 4 for each church. In 1265, 
Clement IV. forbade all elections in England in the usual way 
until his commands were complied with, and reserved them to 
himself. The same pontiff, on the pretext of disturbances going 
on in Sicily, made a general reservation of all appointments in 
the realm, otherwise subject to episcopal or capitular choice. 
Urban IV. withdrew the right of election from the Ghibelline 
cities of Lombardy ; Martin IV. and Honorius IV. applied the 
same rule to the cathedral appointments of Sicily and Aragon ; 
Honorius IV. monopolized all the appointments of the Latin 
Church in the East; and Boniface VIII., in view of Philip IV.'s 
resistance, reserved to himself the appointments to all " cathe- 
dral and regular churches " in France. Of 16 French sees which 
became vacant, 1295-1301, only one was filled in the usual way 
by election. 2 

With the haughty assumption of Clement IV.'s bull and 
the practice of later popes, papal writers fell in. Augustinus 
Triumphus, writing in 1324, asserted that the pope is above 
all canon law and has the right to dispose of all ecclesiastical 
places. 8 The papal system of appointments included provi- 
sions, expectances, and reservations. 4 

1 Lux, p. 13 ; Friedberg : Reservationen in Herzog, XVI. 672. 

2 Lux, p. 17 sqq., and Haller, p. 38, with authorities. 

8 Verum super ipsum jus, potest dispensare, etc. Quoted by Gieseler, 
II. 123. 

4 A provision, that is, provider e ecclesice de episcopo signified in the 
first instance a promotion, and afterwards the papal right to supersede ap- 
pointments made in the usual way by the pope's own arbitrary appointment. 
The methods of papal appointment are given in Liber sextus, I. 16, 18 ; 
Friedberg's ed., II. 969. See Stubbs, Const. Hist., III. 320. " Collations 1 ' 
was also used as a general term to cover this papal privilege. The formulas 


In setting aside the vested rights of chapters and other 
electors, the pope often joined hands with kings and princes. 
In the Avignon period a regular election by a chapter was the 
exception. l The Chronicles of England and France teem with 
usurped casesof papal appointment. In 1322 the pope reserved to 
himself all the appointments in episcopal, cathedral, and abbey 
churches, and of all priors in the sees of Aquileja, Ravenna, 
Milan, Genoa, and Pisa. 2 In 1329 he made such reservation 
for the German dioceses of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and in 
1339 for Cologne. 8 There was no living in Latin Christendom 
which was safe from the pope's hands. There were not 
places enough to satisfy all the favorites of the papal house- 
hold and the applicants pressed upon the pope's attention by 
kings and princes. The spiritual and administrative qualities 
of the appointees were not too closely scrutinized. Frenchmen 
were appointed to sees in England, Germany, Denmark, and 
other countries, who were utterly unfamiliar with the lan- 
guages of those countries. Marsiglius complains of these 
" monstrosities " and, among other unfit appointments, men- 
tions the French bishops of Winchester and Lund, neither of 
whom knew English or Danish. The archbishop of Lund, 
after plundering his diocese, returned to Southern France. 

To the supreme right of appointment was added the su- 
preme right to tax the clergy and all ecclesiastical property. 
The supreme right to exercise authority over kings, the su- 
preme right to set aside canonical rules, the supreme right to 
make appointments in the Church, the supreme right to tax 
Church property, these were, in their order, the rights asserted 
by the popes of the Middle Ages. The scandal growing out 

of this period commonly ran de apostol potestatis plenitudine reservamus. 
See John's bull of July 30, 1822, Lux, p. 62 sq. Bogare, monere, precipere are 
the words generally used by pope Innocent III., 1198-1216, see Hinschtus, 
II. 114 sq. Alexander III. used the expression ipsum commendamus rogantes 
et rogando mandantes and others like it. Hinschius, III. 116, dates insistence 
on reservations as a right from the time of Lucius III., 1181-1185. 

1 Haller, p. 107. 

a Lux, p. 61 sq. This author, pp. 69-106, gives 67 documents not before 
published, containing reservations by John XXII. and his successors. 

8 Kirsch : Kollektorien, p. xxv sq. 

86 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

of this unlimited right of taxation called forth the most vig- 
orous complaints from clergy and laity, and was in large part 
the cause which led to the summoning of the three great 
Reformatory councils of the fifteenth century. 1 

Popes had acted upon this theory of jurisdiction over the 
property of the Church long before John XXII. They levied 
taxes for crusades in the Orient, or to free Italy from rebels 
for the papal state. They gave their sanction to princes and 
kings to levy taxes upon the Church for secular purposes, 
especially for wars. 2 In the bull Clericis laicos, Boniface did 
not mean to call in question the propriety of the Church's con- 
tributing to the necessities of the state. What he demanded 
was that he himself should be recognized as arbiter in such 
matters, and it was this demand which gave offence to the 
French king and to France itself. The question was much 
discussed whether the pope may commit simony. Thomas 
Aquinas gave an affirmative answer. Alvarus Pelagius 8 
thought differently, and declared that the pope is exempt 
from the laws and canons which treat of simony. Augustinus 
Triumphus took the same ground.* The pope is not bound 
by laws. He is above laws. Simony is not possible to him. 

In estimating the necessities of the papal court, which 
justified the imposition of customs, the Avignon popes were 
no longer their own masters. They were the creatures of the 
camera and the hungry horde of officials and sycophants 

Hergenrdther-Kirsch, II. 762. K. MQller: Kirchengesch., II. 45. 
Kirsch : Finanzverwaltung, p. 70. Pastor, in the 1st ed. of his Hist, of the 
Popes, I. 63, said das unheilvolle System der Annaten, Reservationen und 
Expektanzen hat seit Johann XXII. zur Auabildung gelangt. 

2 The course of Clement V., in allowing grants to Philip the Fair, Charles 
of Valois, and other princes, was followed by John. In 1316 he granted to the 
king of France a tenth and aunates for four years, in 1326 a tenth for two years, 
and in 1333 a tenth for six years. The English king, in 1317, was given a share of 
the tenth appointed by the Council of Vienne for a crusade and at the same 
time one-half of the annates. Again, in the years 1319, 1322, 1330, a tenth was 
accorded to the same sovereign. See Haller, p. 110 sq. 

8 De planctu eccles., II. 14, papa legibus loquentibus de simonia et canoni- 
bus solutus est. 

4 V. 3, certum est, summum pontiflcem canonicam simoniam a jure positive 
prohibitam non posse commtttere, quia ipse est supra jus et eum jura positiva 
non ligant. 


whose clamor filled the papal offices day and night. These 
retainers were not satisfied with bread. Every superior office 
in Christendom had its value in terms of gold and silver. 
When it was filled by papal appointment, a befitting fee was 
the proper recognition. If a favor was granted to a prince in 
the appointment of a favorite, the papal court was pretty sure 
to seize some new privilege as a compensation for itself. Prec- 
edent was easily made a permanent rule. Where the pope once 
invaded the rights of a chapter, he did not relinquish his hold, 
and an admission fee once fixed was not renounced. We may 
not be surprised at the rapacity which was developed at the 
papal court. That was to be expected. It grew out of the 
false papal theory and the abiding qualities of human nature. 1 
The details governing the administration of the papal 
finances John set forth in two bulls of 1316 and 1331. His 
scheme fixed the financial policy of the papacy and sacred 
college. 2 The sources from which the papacy drew its reve- 
nues in the fourteenth century were : (1) freewill offerings, 
so called, given for ecclesiastical appointments and other papal 
favors, called visitations, annates, aervitia ; and (2) tributes 
from feudal states such as Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, and England, 
and the revenues from the papal state in Italy. 8 The moneys 
so received were apportioned between four parties, the pope, 
the college of cardinals, and their two households. Under 
John XXII. the freewill offerings, so called, came to be re- 
garded as obligatory fees. Every papal gift had its compen- 
sation. There was a list of prices, and it remained in force till 
changed on the basis of new estimates of the incomes of ben- 
efices. To answer objections, John XXII., in his bull of 1331, 
insisted that the prices set upon such favors were not a charge 
for the grace imparted, but a charge for the labor required for 
writing the pertinent documents. 4 But the declaration did 

1 Kirsch : Kollektorien, p. xii sq. and other Catholic writers make some 
defence of John's financial measures on the ground that the sources of income 
from the State of the Church dried up when the papacy was transferred to 

2 For the details, see Tangl, p. 20 sqq. 8 See vol. V. 1, p. 787 sqq. 

4 Non habita considerations ad valorem beneftcii, de quo fiet gratia sed ad 
laborem scripturce dumtaxat. See Tangl, p. 21. 

88 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

not remove the ill odor of the practice. The taxes levied were 
out of all proportion to the actual cost of the written docu- 
ments, and the privileges were not to be had without money. 

These payments were regularly recorded in registers or 
ledgers kept by the papal secretaries of the camera. The de- 
tails of the papal exchequer, extant in the Archives of the 
Vatican, have only recently been subjected to careful investi- 
gation through the liberal policy of Leo XIII., and have made 
possible a new chapter in works setting forth the history 
of the Church in this fourteenth century. 1 

These studies confirm the impression left by the chroniclers 
and tract- writers of the fourteenth century. The money 
dealings of the papal court were on a vast scale, and the 
transactions were according to strict rules of merchandise. 2 
Avignon was a great money centre. Spiritual privileges were 
vouched for by carefully worded and signed contracts and 
receipts. The papal commercial agents went to all parts of 

Archbishop, bishop, and abbot paid for the letters confirm- 
ing their titles to their dignities. The appointees to lower 
clerical offices did the same. There were fees for all sorts of 
concessions, dispensations and indulgences, granted to lay man 
and to priest. The priest born out of wedlock, the priest 
seeking to be absent from his living, the priest about to be 

1 Woker took up the study in 1878, and has been followed by a number of 
scholars such as Tangl, Gottlob, Goeller, Haller, Baumgarten, Schulte, and 
especially Dr. Kirsch, professor of church history in the Catholic University 
of Freiburg, Switzerland. See, for a full description, Baumgarten, pp. v- 
zxiii. The subject involves a vast array of figures and commercial briefs of 
all kinds, and includes the organization of the camera, the system of collec- 
tion, the graduated scales of prices, the transmission of moneys to Avignon, 
the division of the receipts between the pope and the cardinals, the values of 
the numerous coins, etc. Garampi, a keeper of the Vatican Archives, in the 
eighteenth century arranged these registers according to countries. See 
Kirsch, Kollektorien, ip. vii, and Rtickkehr, p. xli-1 ; Tangl, vi sqq. ; Baum- 
garten, viii, x sqq. 

2 Kirsch : Kollektorien, p. vii, note, gives four different headings under 
which the moneys were recorded, namely : (1) census and visitations ; 
(2) bulls ; (3) servitia communia ; (4) sundry sources. He also give*. ae 
entries under which disbursements were entered, such as the kitchen, books 
and parchments, palfreys, journeys, wars, etc. 


ordained before the canonical age, all had to have a dispensa- 
tion, and these cost money. l The larger revenues went directly 
into the papal treasury and the treasury of the camera. The 
smaller fees went to notaries, doorkeepers, to individual cardi- 
nals, and other officials. These intermediaries stood in a long 
line with palms upturned. To use a modern term, it was an 
intricate system of graft. The beneficiaries were almost end- 
less. The large body of lower officials are usually designated 
in the ledgers by the general term " familiars " of the pope or 
camera. 2 The notaries, or copyists, received stipulated sums 
for every document they transcribed and service they per- 
formed. However exorbitant the demands might seem, the 
petitioners were harried by delays and other petty annoyances 
till in sheer weariness they yielded. 

The taxes levied upon the higher clergy were usually paid 
at Avignon by the parties in person. For the collection of the 
annates from the lower clergy and of tithes and other general 
taxes, collectors and subcollectors were appointed. We find 
these officials in different parts of Europe. They had their 
fixed salaries, and sent periodical reckonings to the central 
bureau at Avignon. 3 The transmission of the moneys they col- 
lected was often a dangerous business. Not infrequently the 
carriers were robbed on their way, and the system came into 
vogue of employing merchant and banking houses to do this 
business, especially Italian firms, which had representatives in 
Northern and Central Europe. The ledgers show a great 
diversity in the names and value of the coins. And it was a 
nice process to estimate the values of these moneys in the 
terms of the more generally accepted standards. 4 

1 Tangl, 74 sq. 

8 As an example of the host of these officials who had to be fed, see Tangl, 
pp. 64-67. He gives a list of the fees paid by agents of the city of Cologne, 
which was seeking certain bulls in 1393. The title " secretary " does not 
occur till the reign of Benedict XII., 1338. Goeller, p. 46. 

8 One of the allowances made by John XXII. for collectors was 5 gold florins 
a day. Kirsch : Kollektorien, VII. sqq., XLIX. sqq. Kirsch gives the official 
ledgers of papal collectors in Basel, pp. 4-32, and other sees of Germany. 
Sometimes the bishop acted as collector in his diocese, Goeller, p. 71. 

4 For elaborate comparisons of the value of the different coins of the four- 
teenth century, see Kirsch, Kollektorien, LXXVIII. and Riickkehr, p. zli sqq. 

90 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

The offerings made by prelates at their visits to the papal 
see, called visitationes, 1 were divided equally between the papal 
treasury and the cardinals. From the lists it appears that the 
archbishops of York paid every three years " 300 marks ster- 
ling, or 1200 gold florins." Every two years the archbishops 
of Canterbury paid " 800 marks sterling, or 1500 gold florins"; 
the archbishop of Tours paid 400 pounds Tournois; of Rheims, 
500 pounds Tournois; of Rouen, 1000 pounds Tournois. 2 The 
archbishop of Armagh, at his visitation in 1301, paid 50 silver 
marks, or 250 gold florins. In 1350 the camera claimed from 
Armagh back payments for fifty years. 8 Presumably no 
bishop of that Irish diocese had made a visit in that interval. 
Whether the claim was honored or not, is not known. 

The servitia communia, or payments made by archbishops, 
bishops, and abbots on their confirmation to office, were also 
listed, according to a fixed scale. The voluntary idea had 
completely disappeared before a fixed assessment. 4 Such a 
dignitary was called an electus until he had paid off the 

Gottlob, pp. 133, 174 sq., etc. Baumgarten, CCXI sqq. The silver mark, the 
gold florin, and the pound Tournois were among the larger coins most current. 
One mark was worth 4 or 6 gold florins, or 8 pounds Tournois. The grossus 
Turonensis was equal to about 25 cents of our value. See Tangl, 14. For the 
different estimates of marks in florins, see Baumgarten, CXXI. The gold 
florin had the face value of $2.50 of our money, or nearly 10 marks German 
coinage. See Kirsch, Kollektorien, p. Ixx ; R'uckkehr, p. xlv ; Gottlob, 
Servitientaxe, p. 176 ; Baumgarten, p. ccxiii ; Tangl, 14, etc. Kirsch gives the 
purchasing price of money in the fourteenth century as four times what it now 
is, Finanzverwaltung, p. 56. The gold mark in 1370 was worth 02 gold florins, 
the silver mark 6 florins, Kirsch Biickkehr, p. xlv. Kirsch : Backkehr, 
pp. 1-lxi, gives a very elaborate and valuable list of the prices of commodi- 
ties and wages in 1370 from the Vatican ledger accounts. Urban V. 's agents 
bought two horses for 117 florins gold and two mules for 90 florins. They 
paid 1 gold florin for 12 pairs of shoes and 1 pair of boots. A salma of wheat 
equal to 733 loaves of bread cost 4 florins, or $10 in our money. The 
keeper of the papal stables received 120 gold florins a year. The senator of 
Rome received from Gregory XI. 500 gold florins a month. A watchman of 
the papal palace, 7 gold florins a month. Carpenters received from 12-18 
shillings Provis, or 60-80 cents, 47 of these coins being equal to 1 gold florin. 

1 Visitationes ad limina apostolorum, that is, visits to Rome. 

* See Baumgarten, CXXI.; Kirsch : Finanzverwaltung, p. 22 sq. 

8 Baumgarten, p. cxxii. 

4 Gottlob, Scrvitien, p. 30 sqq., 75-93 ; Baumgarten, p. xcvii sqq. 


tax. 1 In certain cases the tax was remitted on account of the 
poverty of the ecclesiastic, and in the ledgers the entry was 
made, " not taxed on account of poverty," non taxata propter 
paupertatem. The amount of this tax seems to have varied, and 
was sometimes one-third of the income and sometimes a larger 
portion. 2 In the fourteenth century the following sees paid 
servitia as follows: Mainz, 5,000 gold florins; Treves, 7,000; 
Cologne, 10,000; Narbonne, 10,000. On the basis of a new 
valuation, Martin V. in 1420 raised the taxation of the sees 
of Mainz and Treves to 10,000 florins each, or $25,000 of our 
money, so that they corresponded to the assessment made 
from of old upon Cologne. 8 When an incumbent died with- 
out having met the full tax, his successor made up the deficit 
in addition to paying the assessment for his own confirma- 
tion. 4 

The following cases will give some idea of the annoyances 
to which bishops and abbots were put who travelled to 
Avignon to secure letters of papal confirmation to their offices. 
In 1334, the abbot-elect of St. Augustine, Canterbury, had to 
wait in Avignon from April 22 to Aug. 9 to get his confirma- 
tion, and it cost him 148 pounds sterling. John IV., abbot- 
elect of St. Albans, in 1302 went for consecration to Rome, 
accompanied by four monks. He arrived May 6, presented 
his case to Boniface VIII. in person at Anagni, May 9, and did 
not get back to London till Aug. 1, being all the while engaged 
in the process of getting his papers properly prepared and cer- 

1 Gottlob, p. 130. 

2 Kirech: Finanzverwaltung, and Baumgarten, p. xcvii, make it one -third. 
Gottlob, p. 120, says it was sometimes more. 

8 Baumgarten, p. cvi, Schulte, p. 97 sq. Cases are also reported of the re- 
duction of the assessment upon a revaluation of the property. In 1326 the 
assessment of the see of Breslau was reduced from 4,000 to 1,785 gold florins. 
Kirsch : Finanzverwaltung, p. 8. 

4 For cases, see Baumgarten, p. cviii. Attempts to get rid of this assess- 
ment were unavailing. The bishop of Bamberg, in 1336, left Avignon without 
a bull of confirmation because he had not made the prescribed payment The 
reason is not recorded, but the statement is spread on the ledger entry that 
episcopal confirmation should not be granted to him till the Apostolic letters 
pertaining to it were properly registered and delivered by the Apostolic camera. 
Goeller, p. 69. 

92 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

tified to. 1 The xpense of getting his case through was 2,585 
marks, or 10,340 gold florins, or $25,000 of our money. The 
ways in which this large sum was distributed are not a matter 
of conjecture. The exact itemized statement is extant: 2,258 
marks, or 9,032 florins, went to " the Lord pope and the cardi- 
nals." Of this sum 5,000 florins, or 1,250 marks, are entered 
as a payment for the visitatio, and the remainder in payment 
of the servitium to the cardinals. The remaining 327 marks, 
or 1,308 florins, were consumed in registration and notarial 
fees and gifts to cardinals. To Cardinal Francis of St. Maria 
in Cosmedin, a nephew of Boniface, a gift was made costing 
more than 10 marks, or 40 florins. 

Another abbot-elect of St. Albans, Richard II., went to 
Avignon in 1326 accompanied by six monks, and was well 
satisfied to get away with the payment of 3,600 gold florins. 
He was surprised that the tax was so reasonable. Abbot 
William of the diocese of Autun, Oct. 22, 1316, obligated 
himself to pay John XXII. , as confirmation tax, 1,500 gold 
florins, and to John's officials 170 more. 2 

The fees paid to the lower officials, called servitia minuta, 
were classified under five heads, four of them going to the 
officials, familiares of the pontiff, and one to the officials of the 
cardinals. 8 The exact amounts received on account of servitia 
or confirmation fees by the pope and the college of cardinals, 
probably will never be known. From the lists that have been 
examined, the cardinals between 1316-1323 received from this 
source 234,047 gold florins, or about 39,000 florins a year. As 
the yield from this tax was usually, though not always, divided 
in equal shares between the pope and the cardinals, the full 
sum realized from this source was double this amount. 4 

The annates, so far as they were the tax levied by the pope 
upon appointments made by himself to lower clerical offices 

1 Gesta Abb. monaster. S. Albani, II. 65 sq. See Gottlob, Servitien, p. 174 
sqq. for the full list of his expenses. 

2 The contract is printed entire by Kirsch, Finanzverwaltung, pp. 73-77, 
and Gottlob, p. 162 sqq. 

8 See Gottlob, pp. 102-118 ; Schulte, p. 13 sqq. 
* Baumgarten, p. czx. 


and livings, went entirely into the papal treasury, and seem to 
have been uniformly one-half of the first year's income. 1 They 
were designated as livings " becoming vacant in curia," which 
was another way of saying, places which had been reserved 
by the pope. The popes from time to time extended this tax 
through the use of the right of reservation to all livings be- 
coming vacant in a given district during a certain period. In 
addition to the annate tax, the papal treasury also drew an 
income during the period of their vacancy from the livings re- 
served for papal appointment and during the period when an 
incumbent held the living without canonical right. These 
were called the "intermediate fruits" mediifructus.* 

Special indulgences were an uncertain but no less important 
source of revenue. The prices were graded according to the 
ability of the parties to pay and the supposed inherent value 
of the papal concession. Queen Johanna of Sicily paid 500 
grossi Tournois, or about $150, for the privilege of taking the 
oath to the archbishop of Naples, who acted as the pope's rep- 
resentative. The bull readmitting to the sacraments of the 
Church Margaret of Maul tasch and her husband, Lewisof Bran- 
denburg, the son of Lewis the Bavarian, cost the princess 2000 
grossi Tournois. The king of Cyprus was poor, and secured 
for his subjects indulgence to trade with the Egyptians for 
the modest sum of 100 pounds Tournois, but had to pay 50 
pounds additional for a ship sent with cargo to Egypt. 8 
There was a graduated sgale for papal letters giving persons 
liberty to choose their confessor without regard to the parish 

1 John XXII., 1316, Benedict XII., 1336, Clement VI., 1342, and Boniface 
IX., 1392, ismied bulls requiring such appointees to pay one-half the first year's 
income into the papal treasury. See, on this subject, Kirsch, Kollektorien, p. 
xxv sqq. He mentions the papal collector, Gerardus, who gives a continuous 
list for the years 1343-1360, of such payments of annates, fructus beneftcio- 
rum vacantium ad Cameram Apostolicam pertinentes. The annates, or 
annalia, were originally given to the bishops when livings became vacant, but 
were gradually reserved for the papal treasury. See Friedberg, Kirchliche 
Abgaben, in Herzog, 1. 05. 

fl Kirsch : Kollektorien, p. xxvi. Benedict, 1336, appropriated these pay- 
ments to the papal treasury. 

8 Tangl, pp. 31, 32, 37. 

94 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

To these sources of income were added the taxes for the re- 
lief of the Holy Land pro subsidio terra sanctce. The Coun- 
cil of Vienne ordered a tenth for six years for this purpose. 
John XXII., 1333, repeated the substance of Clement's bull. 
The expense of clearing Italy of hostile elements and reclaim- 
ing papal territory as a preliminary to the pope's return to 
Rome was also made the pretext for levying special taxes. 
For this object Innocent VI. levied a three-years' tax of a 
tenth upon the Church in Germany, and in 1366 Urban V. 
levied another tenth upon all the churches of Christendom. 1 

It would be a mistake to suppose that the Church always 
responded to these appeals, or that the collectors had easy 
work in making collections. The complaints, which we found 
so numerous in England in the thirteenth century, we meet 
with everywhere during the fourteenth century. The re- 
sistance was determined, and the taxes were often left unpaid 
for years or not paid at all. 

The revenues derived from feudal states and princes, called 
census, were divided equally between the cardinals and the 
pope's private treasury. Gregory X., in 1272, was the first 
to make such a division of the tribute from Sicily, which 
amounted to 8000 ounces of gold, or about $90,000. 2 In the 
pontificate of John XXII. there is frequent mention of the 
amounts contributed by Sicily and their equal partition. The 
sums varied from year to year, and in 1304 it was 3000 
ounces of gold. The tribute of Sardinia and Corsica was 
fixed in 1297 at the annual sum of 2000 marks, and was 
divided between the two treasuries. 8 The papal state and 
Ferrara yielded uncertain sums, and the tribute of 1000 marks, 
pledged by John of England, was paid irregularly, and finally 
abrogated altogether. Peter's pence, which belongs in this 
category, was an irregular source of papal income. 4 

1 Kirsch : Kollektorien, pp. zx, zzi. 

2 Kirsch : Finanzverwaltung, p. 3 ; Biickkehr, p. zv. The payment to 
Urban V. in 1367 and its division into equal shares is a matter of record. In 
a ledger account begun in 1317, and now in the Vatican, an ounce of gold wag 
estimated at 6 florins, a pound of gold at 96 florins. See Kirsch, Finanzver- 
waltung, p. 71 ; Baumgarten, p. ccxi. 

8 Baumgarten, p. czlii sq. * Baumgarten, CXXVI. sqq. 


The yearly income of the papal treasury under Clement V. 
and John XXII. has been estimated at from 200,000 to 250,000 
gold florins. 1 In 1353 it is known to have been at least 
260,000 florins, or more than $600,000 of our money. 

These sources of income were not always sufficient for the 
expenses of the papal household, and in cases had to be antici- 
pated by loans. The popes borrowed from cardinals, from 
princes, and from bankers. Urban V. got a loan from his 
cardinals of 30,000 gold florins. Gregory XI. got loans of 
30,000 florins from the king of Navarre, and 60,000 from the 
duke of Anjou. The duke seems to have been a ready 
lender, and on another occasion loaned Gregory 40,000 florins. 2 
It was a common thing for bishops and abbots to make loans 
to enable them to pay the expense of their confirmation. 
The abbot of St. Albans, in 1290, was assessed 1300 pounds 
for his servittum^ and borrowed 500 of it. 8 The habit grew 
until the time of the Reformation, when the sums borrowed, as 
in the case of Albrecht, archbishop of Mainz, were enormous. 

The transactions of the Avignon chancellory called forth 
loud complaints, even from contemporary apologists for the 
papacy. Alvarus Pelagius, in his Lament over the Church, 
wrote : " No poor man can approach the pope. He will call 
and no one will answer, because he has no money in his purse 
to pay. Scarcely is a single petition heeded by the pope 
until it has passed through the hands of middlemen, a 
corrupt set, bought with bribes, and the officials conspire to- 
gether to extort more than the rule calls for." In another 
place he said that whenever he entered into the papal chambers 
he always found the tables full of gold, and clerics counting 

1 Ehrle : Process uber d. Nachlass Klcmens V. , in Archiv, etc., V. 147. The 
revenue of Philip the Fair amounted in 1301 to 207,900 pounds. See Gottlob, 
Servitien, 133. Gottlob, p. 134, says the cardinals received as much more as 
their share. 

* Haller, p. 138. 

8 Walter de Gray, bishop of Worcester, is said to have borrowed 10,000 
pounds at his elevation, 1215. Roger de Wendover, as quoted by Gottlob, 
p. 186. The passage runs obligates in curia Romana de decem millibus libris, 
etc. Gottlob understands this to refer to Roman bankers, not to the Roman 

96 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

and weighing florins. 1 Of the Spanish bishops he said that 
there was scarcely one in a hundred who did not receive 
money for ordinations and the gift of benefices. Matters 
grew no better, but rather worse as the fourteenth century 
advanced. Dietrich of Nieheim, speaking of Boniface IX., 
said that " the pope was an insatiable gulf, and that as for 
avarice there was no one to compare with him." 3 To effect 
a cure of the disease, which was a scandal to Christendom, 
the popes would have been obliged to cut off the great army 
of officials who surrounded them. But this vast organized 
body was stronger than the Roman pontiff. The funda- 
mental theory of the rights of the papal office was at fault. 
The councils made attempts to introduce reforms, but in vain. 
Help came at last and from an unexpected quarter, when 
Luther and the other leaders openly revolted against the 
mediaeval theory of the papacy and of the Church. 

10. The Later Avignon Popes. 

The bustling and scholastic John XXII. was followed by 
the scholarly and upright Benedict XII., 1334-1342. Born 
in the diocese of Toulouse, Benedict studied in Paris, and 
arose to the dignity of bishop and cardinal before his eleva- 
tion to the papal throne. If Villani is to be trusted, his 
election was an accident. One cardinal after another who 
voted for him did so, not dreaming he would be elected. The 
choice proved to be an excellent one. The new pontiff at 
once showed interest in reform. The prelates who had no 
distinct duties at Avignon he sent home, and to his credit it 
was recorded that, when urged to enrich his relatives, he re- 
plied that the vicar of Christ, like Melchizedek, must be with- 
out father or mother or genealogy. To him belongs the honor 
of having begun the erection of the permanent papal palace 
at Avignon, a massive and grim structure, having the features 

1 De planclu eccl. II. 7, quum scepe intraverim in cameram camerarii 
domnlpapce, semper ibi vidi nummvlarios et mensas plena* auro, et clericos 
computantes et trutinantes Jlorenos. See Dollinger-Friedrich, pp. 86, 420. 

9 Insatiabilis vorago et in avaricia null us ei similis. De tchismate. Brier's 
ed., p. 119. The sacra auri fames prevailed at Avignon. 


of a fortress rather than a residence. Its walls and towers 
were built of colossal thickness and strength to resist attack. 
Its now desolated spaces are a speechless witness to perhaps 
the most singular of the episodes of papal history. The 
cardinals followed Benedict's example and built palaces in 
Avignon and its vicinity. 

Clement VI., 1342-1852, whohadbeen archbishop of Rouen, 
squandered the fortune amassed by John XXII. and prudently 
administered by Benedict. He forgot his Benedictine train- 
ing and vows and was a fast liver, carrying into the papal 
office the tastes of the French nobility from which he sprang. 
Horses, a sumptuous table, and the company of women made 
the papal palace as gay as a royal court. 1 Nor were his rela- 
tives allowed to go uncared for. Of the twenty-five cardinals' 
hats which he distributed, twelve went to them, one a brother 
and one a nephew. Clement enjoyed a reputation for elo- 
quence and, like John XXII., preached after he became pope. 
Early in his pontificate the Romans sent a delegation, which 
included Petrarch, begging him to return to Rome. But 
Clement, a Frenchman to the core, preferred the atmosphere 
of France. Though he did not go to Rome, he was gracious 
enough to comply with the delegation's request and appoint 
a Jubilee for the deserted and impoverished city. 

During Clement's rule, Rome lived out one of the pictur- 
esque episodes of its mediaeval history, the meteoric career of 
the tribune Cola (Nicolas) di Rienzo. Of plebeian birth, this 
visionary man was stirred with the ideals of Roman inde- 
pendence and glory by reading the ancient classics. His 
oratory flattered and moved the people, whose cause he 
espoused against the aristocratic families of the city. Sent 
to Avignon at the head of a commission, 1343, to confer the 
highest municipal authority upon the pope, he won Clement's 
attention by his frank manner and eloquent speech. Return- 

1 Pastor, I. 70, says, " Luxury and fast living prevailed to the most 
flagrant degree under Clement's rule." For detailed description of Avignon 
and' the papal palace, see A. Penjon, Avignon, la ville et le palats des 
papes, pp. 134, Avignon, 1878 ; F. Digonnet: Le palais des papes en Avignon, 
Avignon, 1907. 

98 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

ing to Rome, he fascinated the people with visions of freedom 
and dominion. They invested him on the Capitol with the 
signiory of the city, 1347. Cola assumed the democratic title 
of tribune. Writing from Avignon, Petrarch greeted him 
as the man whom he had been looking for, and dedicated to 
him one of his finest odes. The tribune sought to extend 
his influence by enkindling the flame of patriotism throughout 
all Italy and to induce its cities to throw off the yoke of their 
tyrants. Success and glory turned his head. Intoxicated with 
applause, he had the audacity to cite Lewis the Bavarian and 
Charles IV. before his tribunal, and headed his communica- 
tions with the magnificent superscription, " In the first year 
of the Republic's freedom." His success lasted but seven 
months. The people had grown weary of their idol. He 
was laid by Clement under the ban and fled, to appear again 
for a brief season under Innocent V. 

Avignon was made papal property by Clement, who paid 
Joanna of Naples 80,000 florins for it. The low, price may have 
been in consideration of the pope's services in pronouncing the 
princess guiltless of the murder of her cousin and first hus- 
band, Andreas, a royal Hungarian prince, and sanctioning her 
second marriage with another cousin, the prince of Tarentum. 

This pontiff witnessed the conclusion of the disturbed ca- 
reer of Lewis the Bavarian, in 1347. The emperor had sunk 
to the depths of self-abasement when he swore to the 28 arti- 
cles Clement laid before him, Sept. 18, 1343, and wrote to 
the pope that, as a babe longs for its mother's breast, so his 
soul cried out for the grace of the pope and the Church. 
But, if possible, Clement intensified the curses placed upon 
him by his two predecessors. The bull, which he announced 
with his own lips, April 13, 1346, teems with rabid execra- 
tions. It called upon God to strike Lewis with insanity, 
blindness, and madness. It invoked the thunderbolts of 
heaven and the flaming wrath of God and the Apostles Peter 
and Paul both in this world and the next. It called all the 
elements to rise in hostility against him ; upon the universe 
to fight against him, and the earth to open and swallow him 
up alive. It blasphemously damned his house to desolation 


and his children to exclusion from their abode. It invoked 
upon him the curse of beholding with his own eyes the 
destruction of his children by their enemies. 1 

During Clement's pontificate, 1348-1349, the Black Death 
swept over Europe from Hungary to Scotland and from Spain 
to Sweden, one of the most awful and mysterious scourges 
that has ever visited mankind. It was reported by all the 
chroniclers of the time, and described by Boccaccio in the in- 
troduction to his novels. According to Villani, the disease 
appeared as carbuncles under the armpits or in the groin, 
sometimes as big as an egg, and was accompanied with de- 
vouring fever and vomiting of blood. It also involved a gan- 
grenous inflammation of the lungs and throat and a fetid odor 
of the breath. In describing the virulence of the infection, 
a contemporary said that one sick person was sufficient to in- 
fect the whole world. 2 The patients lingered at most a day 
or two. Boccaccio witnessed the progress of the plague as it 
spread its ravages in Florence. 8 Such measures of sanitation 
as were then known were resorted to, such as keeping the 
streets of the city clean and posting up elaborate rules of 
health. Public religious services and processions were ap- 
pointed to stay death's progress. Boccaccio tells how he saw 
the hogs dying from the deadly contagion which they caught 
in rooting amongst cast-off clothing. In England all sorts 
of cattle were affected, and Knighton speaks of 5000 sheep 
dying in a single district. 4 The mortality was appalling. 
The figures, though they differ in different accounts, show a 
vast loss of life. 

1 This awful denunciation runs : Veniat ei laqueus quern ignorat, et cadat in 
ipsuin. Sit maledictus ingrediens, sit maledictus egrediens. Percutiat eum 
dominus amentia et ccecitate ac mentis furore. C&lum super eum fulgura 
mittat. Omnipotent dei ira et beatorum Petri etPauli ... in hocetfuturo 
seculo exardescat in ipsum. Or bis terrarum pugnet contra eum, aperiatur terra 
et ipsum absorbeat vivum. Mirbt : Quellen, p. 153. See Miiller : Kampf Lud- 
voigs, etc., II. 214. 

a " Quoted by Gasquet, Slack Death, p. 46. 

8 Whitcomb, Source Book of the Renaissance, pp. 16-18, gives a transla- 

* Knighton's account, Chronicon, Rolls Series II. 58-66. 

100 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

A large per cent of the population of Western Europe fell 
before the pestilence. In Siena, 80,000 were carried off ; in 
Venice, 100,000 ; in Bologna, two-thirds of the population ; 
and in Florence, three-fifths. In Marseilles the number who 
died in a single month is reported as 57,000. Nor was the 
papal city on the Rhone exempt. Nine cardinals, 70 prelates, 
and 17,000 males succumbed. Another writer, a canon writ- 
ing from the city to a friend in Flanders, reports that up to the 
date of his writing one-half of the population had died. The 
very cats, dogs, and chickens took the disease. 1 At the pre- 
scription of his physician, Guy of Chauliac, Clement VI. 
stayed within doors and kept large fires lighted, as Nicolas 
IV. before him had done in time of plague. 

No class was immune except in England, where the higher 
classes seem to have been exempt. The clergy yielded in great 
numbers, bishops, priests, and monks. At least one arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, Bradwardine, was carried away by it. 
The brothers of the king of Sweden, Hacon and Knut, were 
among the victims. The unburied dead strewed the streets 
of Stockholm. Vessels freighted with cargoes were reported 
floating on the high seas with the last sailor dead. 2 Convents 
were swept clear of all their inmates. The cemeteries were 
not large enough to hold the bodies, which were thrown into 
hastily dug pits. 3 The danger of infection and the odors 
emitted by the corpses were so great that often there was no 
one to give sepulture to the dead. Bishops found cause in this 
neglect to enjoin their priests to preach on the resurrection 
of the body as one of the tenets of the Catholic Church, as 
did the bishop of Winchester. 4 In spite of the vast mor- 
tality, many of the people gave themselves up without re- 
straint to revelling and drinking from tavern to tavern and 
to other excesses, as Boccaccio reports of Florence. 

In England, it is estimated that one-half of the population, 

1 Quoted by Gasquet, p. 46 gqq. 2 Gasquet, p. 40. 

8 Thorold Rogers saw the remains of a number of skeletons at the digging 
for the new divinity school at Cambridge, and pronounced the spot the plague- 
pit of this awful time. Six Centuries of Work and Wages, I. 157. 

4 Gasquet, p. 128. 


or 2,500,000 people, fell victims to the dread disease. 1 Ac- 
cording to Knighton, it was introduced into the land through 
Southampton. As for Scotland, this chronicler tells the 
grewsome story that some of the Scotch, on hearing of the 
weakness of the English in consequence of the malady, met in 
the forest of Selfchyrche Selkirk and decided to fall upon 
their unfortunate neighbors, but were suddenly themselves 
attacked by the disease, nearly 5000 dying. The English 
king prorogued parliament. The disaster that came to the 
industries of the country is dwelt upon at length by the Eng- 
lish chroniclers. The soil became " dead," for there were no 
laborers left to till it. The price per acre was reduced one- 
half, or even much more. The cattle wandered through the 
meadows and fields of grain, with no one to drive them in. 
" The dread fear of death made the prices of live stock cheap." 
Horses were sold for one-half their usual price, 40 solidi, and 
a fat steer for 4 solidi. The price of labor went up, and the 
cost of the necessaries of life became "very high." 2 The 
effect upon the Church was such as to interrupt its ministries 
and perhaps check its growth. The English bishops provided 
for the exigencies of the moment by issuing letters giving to 
all clerics the right of absolution. The priest could now 
make his price, and instead of 4 or 5 marks, as Knighton 
reports, he could get 10 or 20 after the pestilence had spent 
its course. To make up for the scarcity of ministers, ordina- 
tion was granted before the canonical age, as when Bateman, 
bishop of Norwich, set apart by the sacred rite 60 clerks, 
u though only shavelings " under 21. In another direction 
the evil effects of the plague were seen. Work was stopped 

1 These are the figures of Jessopp, Coming of the Friars, Gasquet, p. 226, 
and Cunningham, Growth of English Industries and Commerce, p. 276. 
Thorold Rogers, however, in Six Centuries of Work, etc., and England before 
and after the Black Death, Fortnightly Review, VIII. 190 sqq. reduces the num- 
ber. Jessopp bases his calculations upon local documents and death lists of 
the diocese of Norwich and finds that in some cases nine-tenths of the popula- 
tion died. The Augustinians at Heveringland, prior and canons, died to a 
man. At Hickling only one survived. Whether this fell mortality among the 
clergy, especially the orders, points to luxuriant living and carelessness in 
habits of cleanliness, we will not attempt to say. 

a Knighton, II. 02, 05. 

102 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

on the Cathedral of Siena, which was laid out on a scale of 
almost unsurpassed size, and has not been resumed to this 
day. 1 

The Black Death was said to have invaded Europe from 
the East, and to have been carried first by Genoese vessels. 2 
Its victims were far in excess of the loss of life by any battles 
or earthquakes known to European history, not excepting the 
Sicilian earthquake of 1908. 

In spite of the plague, and perhaps in gratitude for its ces- 
sation, the Jubilee Year of 1350, like the Jubilee under Boni- 
face at the opening of the century, brought thousands of pil- 
grims to Rome. If they left scenes of desolation in the cities 
and villages from which they came, they found a spectacle of 
desolation and ruin in the Eternal City which Petrarch, visit- 
ing the same year, said was enough to move a heart of stone. 
Matthew Villani 3 cannot say too much in praise of the de- 
votion of the visiting throngs. Clement's bull extended the 
benefits of his promised indulgence to those who started on a 
pilgrimage without the permission of their superiors, the cleric 
without the permission of his bishop, the monk without the 
permission of his abbot, and the wife without the permission 
of her husband. 

Of the three popes who followed Clement, only good can be 
said. Innocent VI. , 13521 362, a native of the see of Limoges, 
had been appointed cardinal by Clement VI. Following in the 

1 Gaaquet, p. 263. This author, pp. viii, 8, compares the ravages of the 
bubonic plague in India, 1897-1905, to the desolations of the Black Death. 
He gives the mortality in India in this period as 3,250,000 persons. lie 
emphasizes the bad effects of the plague in undoing the previous work of the 
Church and checking its progress. 

2 Ralph, bishop of Bath and Wells, in a pastoral letter warned against the 
41 pestilence which had come into a neighboring kingdom from the East." 
Knighton refers its origin to India, Thomas Walsingham, Hiat. Angl., Rolls 
Series I. 273, thus speaks of it: "Beginning in the regions of the North and 
East it advanced over the world and ended with so great a destruction that 
scarcely half of the people remained. Towns once full of men became desti- 
tute of inhabitants, and so violently did the pestilence increase that the living 
were scarcely able to bury the dead. In certain houses of men of religion, 
scarcely two out of twenty men survived. It was estimated by many that 
scarcely one-tenth of mankind had been left alive." 

Muratori, XV. 56. 


footsteps of Benedict XII., he reduced the ostentation of the 
Avignon court, dismissed idle bishops to their sees, and insti- 
tuted the tribunal of the rota^ with 21 salaried auditors for the 
orderly adjudication of disputed cases coming before the papal 
tribunal. Before Innocent's election, the cardinals adopted a 
set of rules limiting the college to 20 members, and stipulating 
that no new members should be appointed, suspended, deposed, 
or excommunicated without the consent of two-thirds of their 
number, and that no papal relative should be assigned to a high 
place. Innocent no sooner became pontiff than he set it aside 
as not binding. 

Soon after the beginning of his reign, Innocent released Cola 
di Rienzo from confinement 1 and sent him and Cardinal JSgidius 
Alvarez of Albernoz to Rome in the hope of establishing order. 
Cola was appointed senator, but only a few months afterwards 
was put to death in a popular uprising, Oct. 8, 1354. He 
dreamed of a united Italy, 500 years before the union of its 
divided states was consummated, but his name remains a 
powerful impulse to popular freedom and national unity in 
the peninsula. 

Tyrants and demagogues infested Italian municipalities and 
were sucking their life-blood. The State of the Church had 
been parcelled up into petty principalities ruled by rude nobles, 
such as the Polentas in Ravenna, the Malatestas in Rimini, 
the Montefeltros in Urbino. The pope was in danger of los- 
ing his territory in the peninsula altogether. Soldiers of for- 
tune from different nations had settled upon it and spread 
terror as leaders of predatory bands. In no part was anarchy 
more wild than in Rome itself, and in the Campagna. 
Albernoz had fought in the wars against the Moors, and had 
administered the see of Toledo. He was a statesman as well 
as a soldier. He was fully equal to his difficult task and 
restored the papal government. 2 

1 Cola had roamed about till he went to Prag, where Charles IV. seized him 
and sent him to Avignon in 1352. Petrarch, who corresponded with him, 
speaks of seeing him in Avignon, attended by two guards. See Robinson, 
Petrarch, pp. 841-343 sqq. 

2 The full term of Albernoz' service in Italy extended from 1363-1368. By 
his code, called the JEgidian Constitutions, he became the legislator of the 

104 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

In 1355, Albernoz, as administrator of Rome, placed the 
crown of the empire on the head of Charles IV. To such a 
degree had the imperial dignity been brought that Charles was 
denied permission by the pope to enter the city till the day 
appointed for his coronation. His arrival in Italy was wel- 
comed by Petrarch as Henry VII. 's arrival had been welcomed 
by Dante. But the emperor disappointed every expectation, 
and his return from Italy was an inglorious retreat. He placed 
his own dominion of Bohemia in his debt by becoming the 
founder of the University of Prag. 1 It was he also who, in 
1356, issued the celebrated Golden Bull, which laid down the 
rules for the election of the emperor. They placed this trans- 
action wholly in the hands of the electors, a majority of whom 
was sufficient for a choice. The pope is not mentioned in the 
document. Frankfurt was made the place of meeting. The 
electors designated were the archbishops of Mainz, Treves, and 
Cologne, the Count Palatine, the king of Bohemia, the mar- 
grave of Brandenburg, and the duke of Saxony. 2 

Urban V., 1362-1370, at the time of his election abbot of 
the Benedictine convent of St. Victor in Marseilles, developed 
merits which secured for him canonization by Pius IX., 1870. 
He was the first of the Avignon popes to visit Rome. Pe- 
trarch, as he had written before to Benedict XII. and Clement 
VI., now, in his old age, wrote to the new pontiff rebuking 
the curia for its vices and calling upon him to be faithful to 
his part as Roman bishop. Why should Urban hide himself 
away in a corner of the earth ? Italy was fair, and Rome, 
hallowed by history and legend of empire and Church, was 
the theocratic capital of the world. Charles IV. visited 
Avignon and offered to escort the pontiff. But the French 

State of the Church for centuries. For text, see Mansi, XXVI. 299-807. 
Gregorovius, VI. 430, calls him " the most gifted statesman who ever sat in the 
college of cardinals, 11 and Wurm,his biographer, " the second founder of the 
State of the Church. 11 

1 In 1834 Clement had set off the diocese of Prag from the diocese of Mainz 
and made it an archbishopric. 

2 Bryce, ch. XIV., says well that the Golden Bull completed the German- 
ization of the Holy Roman Empire by separating the imperial power from the 
papacy. See Mirot, La politique pontificate, p. 2. 


king opposed the plan and was supported by the cardinals in 
a body. Only three Italians were left in it. Urban started 
for the home of his spiritual ancestors in April, 1367. A fleet 
of sixty vessels furnished by Naples, Genoa, Venice, and Pisa 
conducted the distinguished traveller from Marseilles to 
Genoa and Corneto, where he was met by envoys from Rome, 
who put into his hands the keys of the castle of St. An- 
gelo, the symbol of full municipal power. All along the way 
transports of wine, fish, cheese, and other provisions, sent on 
from Avignon, met the papal party, and horses from the 
papal stables on the Rhone were in waiting for the pope at 
every stage of the journey. 1 

At Viterbo, a riot was called forth by the insolent manners 
of the French, and the pope launched the interdict against 
the city. The papal ledgers contain the outlay by the apoth- 
ecary for medicines for the papal servants who were wounded 
in the me!6e. Here Albernoz died, to whom the papacy 
owed a large debt for his services in restoring order to Rome. 
The legend runs that, when he was asked by the pope for an 
account of his administration, he loaded a car with the keys 
of the cities he had recovered to the papal authority, and sent 
them to him. 

Urban chose as his residence the Vatican in preference to 
the Lateran. The preparations for his advent included the 
restoration of the palace and its gardens. A part of the 
garden was used as a field, and the rest was overgrown with 
thorns. Urban ordered it replanted with grape-vines and 
fruit trees. The papal ledger gives the cost of these im- 
provements as 6,621 gold florins, or about $15,000. Roofs, 
floors, doors, walls, and other parts of the palace had to be 
renewed. The expenses from April 27, 1367, to November, 

i Kirsch : Riickkehr, etc., pp. xii, 74-90. During the stop of five days at 
Genoa, Urban received timely help in the payment of the feoffal tax of Naples, 
8000 ounces of gold. Kirsch, in his interesting and valuable treatment, pub- 
lishes the ledger entries made in the official registers, deposited in Rome and 
Avignon and giving in detail the expenses incurred on the visits of Urban and 
Gregory XI. Gregorovius, VI. 430 sqq., gives an account of Urban's pil- 
grimage in his most brilliant style. 

106 THB MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

1368, as shown in the report of the papal treasurer, Gaucelin 
de Pradello, were 15,559 florins, or * 39,000.* 

During the sixty years that had elapsed since Clement V. 
fixed the papal residence in France, Rome had been reduced 
almost to a museum of Christian monuments, as it had before 
been a museum of pagan ruins. The aristocratic families 
had forsaken the city. The Lateran had again fallen a prey 
to the flames in 1360. St. Paul's was desolate. Rubbish or 
stagnant pools filled the streets. The population was reduced 
to 20,000 or perhaps 17,000. 2 The return of the papacy was 
compared by Petrarch to Israel returning out of Egypt. 

Urban set about the restoration of churches. He gave 1000 
florins to the Lateran and spent 5000 on St. Paul's. Rome 
showed signs of again becoming the centre of European so- 
ciety and politics. Joanna, queen of Naples, visited the city, 
and so did the king of Cyprus and the emperor, Charles 
IV. In 1369 John V. Palseologus, the Byzantine emperor, 
arrived, a suppliant for aid against the Turks, and publicly 
made solemn abjuration of his schismatic tenets. 

The old days seemed to have returned, but Urban was not 
satisfied. He had not the courage nor the wide vision to 
sacrifice his own pleasure for the good of his office. Had he 
so done, the disastrous schism might have been averted. He 
turned his face back towards Avignon, where he arrived " at 
the hour of vespers," Sept. 27, 1370. He survived his re- 
turn scarcely two months, and died Dec. 19, 1370, uni- 
versally beloved and already honored as a saint. 

11. The Re-establishment of the Papacy in Rome. 1377. 

Of the nineteen cardinals who entered the conclave at the 
death of Urban V., all but four were Frenchmen. The choice 
immediately fell on Gregory XL, the son of a French count. 
At 17 he had been made cardinal by his uncle, Clement VI. 

1 The accounts are published entire by Kirsch, pp. ix sqq. xxx, 109-165. 

2 D611inger, The Church and the Churches, Engl. trans., 1862,' p. 858, 
puts the population at 17,000. Gregorovius, VI. 438, makes the estimate 
somewhat higher. 


His contemporaries praised him for his moral purity, affa- 
bility, and piety. He showed his national sympathies by 
appointing 18 Frenchmen cardinals and filling papal appoint- 
ments in Italy with French officials. In English history he 
is known for his condemnation of Wyclif. His pontificate 
extended from 1370-1378. 

With Gregory's name is associated the re-establishment of 
the papacy in its proper home on the Tiber. For this change 
the pope deserves no credit. It was consummated against 
his will. He went to Rome, but was engaged in prepara- 
tions to return to Avignon, when death suddenly overtook 

That which principally moved Gregory to return to Rome 
was the flame of rebellion which filled Central and Northern 
Italy, and threatened the papacy with the permanent loss of 
its dominions. The election of an anti-pope was contem- 
plated by the Italians, as a delegation from Rome informed 
him. One remedy was open to crush revolt on the banks of 
the Tiber. It was the presence of the pope himself. 1 

Gregory had carried on war for five years with the dis- 
turbing elements in Italy. In the northern parts of the 
peninsula, political anarchy swept from city to city. Sol- 
diers of fortune, the most famous of whom was the English- 
man, John Hawkwood, spread terror wherever they went. 
In Milan, the tyrant Bernabo was all-powerful and truculent. 
In Florence, the revolt was against the priesthood itself, and 
a red flag was unfurled, on which was inscribed the word 
" Liberty." A league of 80 cities was formed to abolish the 
pope's secular power. The interdict hurled against the 
Florentines, March 31, 1376, for the part they were taking 
in the sedition, contained atrocious clauses, giving every one 
the right to plunder the city and to make slaves of her 
people wherever they might be found. 2 Genoa and Pisa 

1 Pastor, Hergenrather-Kirsch, Kirsch, RUckkehr, p. xvii ; Mirot, p. viii, 
7 sq., and other Catholic historians agree that this was Gregory's chief motive. 
Mirot, pp. 10-18, ascribes to Gregory three controlling ideas the reform of 
the Church, the re-establishment of peace with the East as a preliminary to a 
new crusade against the Turks, and the return of the papacy to Rome. 

2 Baluz, I. 436, Gieseler, IV. 1, p. 90 sq., give the bull 

108 THE MIDDLE AQES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

followed Florence and incurred a like papal malediction. 
The papal city, Bologna, was likewise stirred to rebellion in 
1376 by its sister city on the Arno. 

Florence fanned the flames of rebellion in Rome and the 
other papal towns, calling upon them to throw off the yoke 
of tyranny and return to their pristine liberty. What 
Italian, its manifesto proclaimed, " can endure the sight of 
so many noble cities, serving barbarians appointed by the 
pope to devour the goods of Italy ? " 1 But Rome remained 
true to the pope, as did Ancona. On the other hand, Perugia, 
Narni, Viterbo, and Ferrara, in 1375, raised the banner of 
rebellion until revolt threatened to spread over the whole of 
the papal patrimony. The bitter feeling against the French 
officials was intensified by a detachment of 10,000 Breton 
mercenaries which the pope sent to crush the revolution. 
They were under the leadership of Cardinal Robert of Geneva, 
afterward Clement VII., an iron-hearted soldier and 
pitiless priest. It was as plain as day, Pastor says, that 
Gregory's return was the only thing that could save Rome 
to the papacy. 

To the urgency of these civil commotions were added the 
pure voices of prophetesses, which rose above the confused 
sounds of revolt and arms, the voices of Brigitta of Sweden 
and Catherine of Siena, both canonized saints. 

Petrarch, who for nearly half a century had been urging 
the pope's return, now, in his last days, replied to a French 
advocate who compared Rome to Jericho, the town to which 
the man was going who fell among thieves, and stigmatized 
Avignon as the sewer of the earth. He died 1374, without 
seeing the consuming desire of his life fulfilled. Guided by 
patriotic instincts, he had carried into his appeals the feeling 
of an Italian's love of his country. Brigitta and Catherine 
made their appeals to Gregory on higher than national grounds, 
the utility of Christendom and the advantage of the king- 
dom of God. Emerging from visions and ecstatic moods of 
devotion, they called upon the Church's chief bishop to be 
faithful to the obligations of his holy office. 

1 Quoted by Mirot, p. 48, and Gregorovius, VI. 466 sqq. 


On the death of her husband, St. Brigitta left her Scandi- 
navian home and joined the pilgrims whose faces were set 
towards Rome in the Jubilee year of 1350. 1 Arriving in the 
papal city, the hope of seeing both the emperor and the pope 
once more in that centre of spiritual and imperial power 
moved her to the devotions of the saint and the messages of 
the seer. She spent her time in going from church to church 
and ministering to the sick, or sat clad in pilgrim's garb, beg- 
ging. Her revelations, which were many, brought upon her 
the resentment of the Romans. She saw Urban enter the 
city and, when he announced his purpose to return again to 
France, she raised her voice in prediction of his speedy death, 
in case he persisted in it. When Gregory ascended the 
throne, she warned him that he would die prematurely if he 
kept away from the residence divinely appointed for the 
supreme pontiff. But to her, also, it was not given to see the 
fulfilment of her desire. The worldliness of the popes stirred 
her to bitter complaints. Peter, she exclaimed, " was appointed 
pastor and minister of Christ's sheep, but the pope scatters 
them and lacerates them. He is worse than Lucifer, more un- 
just than Pilate, more cruel than Judas. Peter ascended the 
throne in humility, Boniface in pride. " To Gregory she wrote, 
" in thy curia arrogant pride rules, insatiable cupidity and exe- 
crable luxury. It is the very deepest gulf of horrible simony. 2 
Thou seizest and tearest from the Lord innumerable sheep." 
And yet she was worthy to be declared a saint. She died in 
1373. Her daughter Catherine took the body to Sweden. 

Catherine of Siena was more fortunate. She saw the 
papacy re-established in Italy, but she also witnessed the un- 
happy beginnings of the schism. This Tuscan prophetess, 
called by a sober Catholic historian, "one of the most won- 
derful appearances in history," 8 wrote letter after letter to 

1 Brigitta was born near Upsala, 1803. See Gardner, St. Catherine of 
Siena, p. 44 sqq. Mlinger has called attention to the failure of her prophe- 
cies to be fulfilled, Fables and frophecies of the Middle Age*, trans, by 
Prof. Henry B. Smith, pp. 831, 398. 

2 Vorago pessima horribilis symoniae, Brigitta's Revelationes, as quoted 
by Gieseler, Haller, p. 88, and Gardner, p. 78 sq. 

8 Pastor, I. 103. 

110 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

Gregory XI. whom she called " sweet Christ on earth," appeal- 
ing to him and admonishing him to do his duty as the head 
of the Church, and to break away from his exile, which she 
represented as the source of all the evils with which Christen- 
dom was afflicted. " Be a true successor of St. Gregory," she 
wrote. " Love God. Do not bind yourself to your parents 
and your friends. Do not be held by the compulsion of 
your surroundings. Aid will come from God. " His return to 
Rome and the starting of a new crusade against the Turks, 
she represented as necessary conditions of efficient measures 
to reform the Church. She bade him return " swiftly like a 
gentle lamb. Respond to the Holy Spirit who calls you. I 
tell you, Come, come, come, and do not wait for time, 
since time does not wait for you. Then you will do like 
the Lamb slain, whose place you hold, who, without weapons 
in his hands, slew our foes. Be manly in my sight, not fear- 
ful. Answer God, who calls you to hold and possess the seat 
of the glorious shepherd, St. Peter, whose vicar you are." l 

Gregory received a letter purporting to come from a man 
of God, warning him of the poison which awaited him at Rome 
and appealing to his timidity and his love of his family. In 
a burning epistle, Catherine showed that only the devil or one 
of his emissaries could be the author of such a communication, 
and called upon him as a good shepherd to pay more honor to 
God and the well-being of his flock than to his own safety, for 
a good shepherd, if necessary, lays down his life for the sheep. 
The servants of God are not in the habit of giving up a 
spiritual act for fear of bodily harm. 2 

In 1376, Catherine saw Gregory face to face in Avignon, 
whither she went as a commissioner from Florence to arrange 
a peace between the city and the pope. The papal residence 
she found not a paradise of heavenly virtues, as she expected, 
but in it the stench of infernal vices. 8 The immediate object 

i Scudder : Letters of St. Catherine, p. 132 sq.; Gardner, pp. 158, 176, etc. 

* Scudder, p. 182 sqq. 

* This was Catherine's deposition to her confessor. See Mirbt : Quellen, 
p. 154, in romana curia, ubi deberet paradisus etse c&licarwn vlrtutum, in- 
veniebat fcstorem infernalium vitiarum. 


of the mission was not accomplished; but her unselfish appeals 
confirmed Gregory in his decision to return to Rome a de- 
cision he had already formed before Catherine's visit, as the 
pope's own last words indicate. 1 

As early as 1374, Gregory wrote to the emperor that it was 
his intention to re-establish the papacy on the Tiber. 2 A mem- 
ber of the papal household, Bertrand Raffini, was sent ahead 
to prepare the Vatican for his reception. The journey was 
delayed. It was hard for the pope to get away from France. 
His departure was vigorously resisted by his relatives as well 
as by the French cardinals and the French king, who sent a 
delegation to Avignon, headed by his brother, the duke of 
Anjou, to dissuade Gregory from his purpose. 

The journey was begun Sept. 13, 1376. Six cardinals were 
left behind at Avignon to take care of the papal business. 
The fleet which sailed from Marseilles was provided by Joanna 
of Naples, Peter IV. of Aragon, the Knights of St. John, 
and the Italian republics, but the vessels were not sufficient 
to carry the large party and the heavy cargo of personal bag- 
gage and supplies. The pope was obliged to rent a number 
of additional galleys and boats. Fernandez of Heredia, who 
had just been elected grand-master of the Knights of St. John, 
acted as admiral. A strong force of mercenaries was also re- 
quired for protection by sea and at the frequent stopping 
places along the coast, and for service, if necessary, in Rome 
itself. The expenses of this peaceful A rmada vessels, mer- 
cenaries, and cargo are carefully tabulated in the ledgers 
preserved in Avignon and the Vatican. 8 The first entries of 

1 Mirot, p. 101, is quite sure Catherine had no influence in bringing Greg- 
ory to his original decision. So also Pastor and Gardner. 

2 Later biographers tell of a vow made by Gregory at the opening of his 
pontificate to return to Rome, but no contemporary writer has any reference to 
it, Mirot, p. 52. 

8 Kirsch, pp. 169-264, gives a copy of these ledger entries. One set contains 
the expenses of preparation, one set the expenses from Marseilles to Rome, 
and a third set, the expenses after arriving in Rome. Still another gives the 
expenses of repairing the Vatican the wages of workmen and the prices paid 
for lumber, lead, iron, keys, etc. On the back of this last volume, which is in 
the Vatican, are written the words, " JSxpensas palatii apostolici, 1370-1380." 

112 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

expense are for the large consignments of Burgundy and other 
wines which were to be used on the way, or stored away in 
the vaults of the Vatican. 1 The cost of the journey was heavy, 
and it should occasion no surprise that the pope was obliged 
to increase the funds at his control at this time by borrowing 
30,000 gold florins from the king of Navarre. 2 The papal 
moneys, amounting to 85,713 florins, were carried from Avi- 
gnon to Marseilles in twelve chests on pack horses and mules, 
and in boats. To this amount were added later 41,527 florins, 
or, in all, about $300,000 of our present coinage. The cost 
of the boats and mercenaries was very large, and several times 
the boatmen made increased demands for their services and 
craft to which the papal party was forced to accede. Ray mund 
of Turenne, who was in command of the mercenaries, received 
700 florins a month for his " own person," each captain with 
a banner 24 florins, and each lance with three men under him 
18 florins monthly. Nor were the obligations of charity to be 
overlooked. Durandus Andreas, the papal eleemosynary, re- 
ceived 100 florins to be distributed in alms on the journey, 
and still another 100 to be distributed after the party's arrival 
at Rome. 8 

The elements seemed to war with the expedition. The fleet 
had no sooner set sail from Marseilles than a fierce storm arose 
whichlasted several weeks and made the journey tedious. Urban 
V. was three days in reaching Genoa, Gregory sixteen. From 
Genoa, the vessels continued southwards the full distance to 
Ostia, anchorage being made every night off towns. From 
Ostia, Gregory went up the Tiber by boat, landing at Rome 
Dec. 16, 1377. The journey was made by night and the banks 
were lit up by torches, showing the feverish expectation of the 
people. Disembarking at St. Paul's, the pope proceeded the 
next day, Jan. 17, to St. Peter's, accompanied by rejoicing 

1 Kirsch, pp. xviii, 171, Mirot, p. 112 sq., says, Lea vins paraissent avoir 
tenu une grande place dans le retour, et, & la veille du depart, on s'occupa tant 
d' assurer le service de la bouteillerie durant le voyage, que de garnir en previ- 
sion de Varrivee, les caves du Vatican. 

2 Kirsch, p. 184. For other loans made by Gregory, e.g. 80,000 florins in 
1374 and 60,000 in 1376, see Mirot, p. 36. 

8 Kirsch, pp. xz, xxii, 170. 


throngs. In the procession were bands of buffoons who 
added to the interest of the spectacle and afforded pastime 
to the populace. The pope abode in the Vatican and, 
from that time till this day, it has continued to be the papal 

Gregory survived his entrance into the Eternal City a single 
year. He spent the warmer months in Anagni, where he must 
have had mixed feelings as he recalled the experiences of his 
predecessor Boniface VIII., which had been the immediate 
cause of the transfer of the papal residence to French soil. 
The atrocities practised at Cesena by Cardinal Robert cast a 
dark shadow over the events of the year. An uprising of the 
inhabitants in consequence of the brutality of his Breton troops 
drove them and the cardinal to seek refuge in the citadel. 
Hawkwood was called in, and, in spite of the cardinal's pacific 
assurances, the mercenaries fell upon the defenceless people 
and committed a butchery whose shocking details made the 
ears of all Italy to tingle. Four thousand were put to death, 
including friars in their churches, and still other thousands 
were sent forth naked and cold to find what refuge they could 
in neighboring towns. But, in spite of this barbarity, the 
pope's authority was acknowledged by an enlarging circle of 
Italian commonwealths, including Bologna. Florence, even, 
sued for peace. 

When Gregory died, March 27, 1378, he was only 47 years 
old. By his request, his body was laid to rest in S. Maria 
Nuova on the Forum. In his last hours, he is said to have 
regretted having given his ear to the voice of Catherine of 
Siena, and he admonished the cardinals not to listen to proph- 
ecies as he had done. 1 Nevertheless, the monument erected 
to Gregory at Rome two hundred years later is true to history 
in representing Catherine of Siena walking at the pope's side 
as if conducting him back to Rome. The Babylonian captiv- 
ity of the papacy had lasted nearly three-quarters of a cen- 
tury. The wonder is that with the pope virtually a vassal of 

1 So Gerson, De examinatione doctrinarum, I. 16, as quoted by Gieseler, 
ut caverent ab hominibus sive viris give mulieribus, sub specie religionis lo- 
quentibus visiones . . . quia per tales ipse reductus. See Pastor, I. 113. 

114 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

France, Western Christendom remained united. Scarcely 
anything in history seems more unnatural than the voluntary 
residence of the popes in the commonplace town on the Rhone 
remote from the burial-place of the Apostles and from the 
centres of European life. 




12. Sources and Literature. 

For 13, 14. THE PAPAL SCHISM. Orig. documents in RAYNALDUS : 
Annal. eccles. C. E. BULAUS, d. 1078 : Hist, univer. Parisiensis, 6 vols., Paris, 
1005-1073, vol. IV. VAN DKR HARDT, see 16. H. DBNIFLK and A. CHATE- 
LAIN: Chartul. universitatis Paris., 4 vols., Paris, 1889-1897, vols. III., IV., 
especially the part headed de schismate, III. 552-039. THEODERICH OF NIE- 
IIEIM (Niem) : de Kchismate inter papas et antipapas, Basel, 1660, ed. by 
GKO. EKLER, Leipzig, 1890. Nieheim, b. near Paderborn, d 1417, had ex- 
ceptional opportunities for observing the progress of events. He was papal 
secretary notarius sacn palatii at Avignon, went with Gregory XI. to 
Rome, was there at the breaking out of the schism, and held official positions 
under three of the popes of the Roman line. In 1408 he joined the Livorno 
cardinals, and supported Alexander V, and John XXIII. See H. V. SAUER- 
LANI>: D. Leben d. Dietrich von Nieheim nebxt enter Uebersicht fiber dessen 
Srhrtften, Gottingen, 187/3, and G. ERLKK Dietr. von Nieheim, sein Leben 
u. s. Schriften, Leipzig, 1887. ADAM OF USK : Chroniron, 1377-1421, 2d 
ed by E. M. THOMPSON, with Engl. trans., London, 1904 MARTIN DE 
ALPARTILS: Chronica actitatorum temporibus Domini Benedicti XIII. 
ed. Fr. Ehrle, S.J., vol. I, Paderborn, 1900. W^CLIF'S writings, Lives 
of Boniface IX. and Innocent VII. in Muratori, III. 2, pp. 830 sqq., 
JW8 sq. P. DUPUY: Hist, du schisme 1378-1420, Paris, 1654. P. 
L. MAIMBOURG (Jesuit): Hist, du grand schisme d" Occident, Paris, 
1078. EHRLE: Neue Materialien zur Gesch. Peters von Luna (Bene- 
dict XIII.), in Archiv fur Lit. und Kirchengesch., VI. 139 sqq., VII. 
1 8 qq. L. GAYET: Le grand schisme d 1 Occident, 2 vols., Florence and 
Berlin, 1889. C. LOCKE: Age of the Great Western Schism, New York, 
1896. PAUL VAN DYKE : Age of the Renascence, an Outline of the Hist, of 
the Papacy, 1S77-1587, New York, 1897. L. SAI.KMBIER : Le grand schisme 
(V Occident, Paris, 1900, 3d ed., 1907. Engl. trans., London, 1907. N. VALOIS : 
La France et le grand schisme d 1 Occident, 4 vols., Paris, 1896-1901. E. 
GOELLER : Konig Sigismund's Kirchenpolitik vom Tode Bonifaz IX. bis zur 
Berufung d. Konstanzer Concils, Freiburg, 1902. M. JANSEN : Papst Boni- 
fatius IX. u. s. Beziehungen zur deutschen Kirche, Freiburg, 1904. H. 
BRUCE : The Age of Schism, New York, 1907. E. J. KITTS : In the Days 
of the Councils. A Sketch of the Life and Times of Baldassare Cossa, John 
XXIII. , London, 1908. HEFELK-KNOPFLER : Conciliengesch., VI. 727-936. 


116 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

TOR, I. 116-176. CREIGHTON, I. 66-200. 

DEB HAKDT, Prof, of Hebrew and librarian at Helmstadt, d. 1746: Magnum 
oecumenicum Constantiense Concilium de universali ecclesice reformatione, 
unione et fide, 6 vols., Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1696-1700. A monumental 
work, noted alike as a mine of historical materials and for its total lack of 
order in their arrangement. In addition to the acts and history of the Coun- 
cil of Constance, it gives many valuable contemporary documents, e.g. the 
De corrupto statu eccles., also entitled De ruina cedes , of NICOLAS OF CLA- 
MANOES ; the De modis uniendi et reformandi eccles. in concilio universali ; 
De difficultate reformationis; and Monita de necessitate reformationis eccles. 
in capite et membris, all probably by NIEHEIM ; and a Hist, of the Council, 
by DIETRICH VRIE, an Augustinian, finished at Constance, 1417. These 
are all in vol. I. Vol. II. contains Henry of Limgenstein's ConsiliuM 
pads : De unione ac reformatione ecclesice, pp. 1-60 ; a Hist, of the. c. of Pisa, 
pp. 61-166 ; NIEHEIM'S Invectiva in diffugientem Johannem XXHL and de 
vita Johan. XXIII. usque adfugam et carcerem ejus, pp. 296-459, etc. The 
vols. are enriched with valuable illustrations. Volume V. contains a stately 
array of pictures of the seals and escutcheons of the princes and prelates 
attending the council in person or by proxy, and the fourteen univeisitit's 
represented. The work also contains biogg. of D'Ailly, Gerson, Zarabella, 
etc. LANGENSTEIN'S Consilium pads is also given in Du Pin's ed. of Gerson's 
Works, ed. 1728, vol. II. 809-839. The tracts De difficultate reformationis and 
Monita de necessitate, etc., are also found in Du Pin, II. 867-876, 885-902, 
and ascribed to Peter D'Ailly. The tracts De reformatione and De eccles., 
concil. generalis, romani pontificis et cardinahum auctoritate, also ascribed 
to D'Ailly in Du Pin, II. 903-915, 925-960. ULRICH VON RICHEXTAL : Das 
Concilium so ze Costenz gehalten worden, ed. by M. R. BUCK, Tubingen, 
1882. Also MARMION : Gesch. d. Cone, von Konstanz nach Ul. von Richental, 
Constance, 1860. Richental, a resident of Constance, wrote from his own 
personal observation a quaint and highly interesting narrative. First publ., 
Augsburg, 1483. The MS. may still be seen in Constance. *H. FINKR: 
Forschungen u. Quellen zur Gesch. des Konst. Konzils, Paderborn, 1889. 
Contains the valuable diary of Card. Fillastre, etc *FINKE : Actas cone. Con- 
stanciensis, 1410-1414, Mlinster, 1906. J. L'ENFANT (Huguenot refugee 
in Berlin, d. 1728) : Hist, duconc. de Constance, Amsterdam, 1714 ; also Hist, 
du cone, de Pisa, Amsterdam, 1724, Engl. trans., 2 vols., London, 1780. 
B. H&BLER: Die Konstanzer Reformation u. d. Konkordate von 1418, Leipzig, 
1867. U. LENZ: Drei Traktate aus d. Schriftencyclus d. Konst. Konzils, 
Marburg, 1876. Discusses the authorship of the tracts De modis, De necessi- 
tate, and De difficultate, ascribing them to Nieheim. B. BKSB : Studien zur 
Gesch. d. Konst. Konzils, Marburg, 1891. J. H. WTLIE: The Counc. of 
Const, to the Death ofj. Hus, London, 1900. *J. B. SCHWAB: J. Gerson, 
Wtirzburg, 1868. * P. TSCHACKERT : Peter von Ailli, Gotha, 1877. DOL- 
LINOEB-FRIEDRICH : D. Papstthum, new ed., Munich, 1892, pp. 164-164. 
F. X. FUNK : Martin V. und d. Konzil von Konstanz in Abhandlungen u. 

IS, THE SCHISM BEGUN. 1378. 117 

Untersuchungen, 2 vols., Paderborn, 1897, I. 489-498. The works cited in 
1, especially, CREIGHTON, I. 200-420, HEFELE, VI. 992-1043, VII. 1-376, 
PASTOR, I. 188-279, VALOIS, IV., SALEMBIER, 260 sqq.; Eine Invektive 
gegen Gregor xii., Nov. 1, 1408, in Ztschr. f. Kirchengesch., 1907, p. 188 sq. 
For 17. THE COUNCIL OP BASEL. Lives of Martin V. and Eugenius IV. 
in MANBI: XXVIII. 975 sqq., 1171 sqq. ; in MDRATOBI: Ital. Scripp., and 
PLATINA: Hist, of the Popes, Engl. trans., II. 200-236. MANSI, XXIX.- 
XXXI. ; LABBJSITS, XII. 464-XIII. 1280. For C. of Siena, MANSI: XXVIII. 
1058-1082. Monum. concil. general, soec. XV., ed. by PALACKY, 3 vols., Vi- 
enna, 1867-1896. Contains an account of C. of Siena by JOHN STOJKORIC of 
Ragusa, a delegate from the Univ. of Paris. JOHN DE SEGOVIA : Hist. gest. 
gener. Basil, cone., new ed., Vienna, 1873. Segovia, a Spaniard, was a 
prominent figure in the Basel Council and one of Felix V/s cardinals. For 
his writings, see HALLER'S Introd. Concil. Basiliense. Studien und Quellen 
zur Gesch. d. Concils von Basel, with Introd. ed. by T. HALLER, 4 vols., 
Basel, 1896-1903. .&NEAS SYLVIUS PICCOLOMINI: Commentarii de gestis 
concil. Basil, written 1440 to justify Felix's election, ed. by FEA, Rome, 1823 ; 
also Hist. Frederici III., trans, by T. ILGEN, 2 vols., Leipzig. No date. 
-flSneas, afterward Pius II., did not say and think the same thing at all 
times," says HALLER, Introd., p 12. See VOIGT : Enea Sylvio de' Picco- 
lomini, etc., 3 vols., Berlin, 1860-1803. INFESSURA : Diario dclla citta di 
Koma, Home, 1890, pp. 22-42. F. P. ABERT; Eugenius IV., Mainz, 1884. 

WATTENBACH : Horn. Papstthum, pp. 271-284. HEFELE-KNOPFLBR, VII. 
376-849. POLLINGER-FRIEDRICII : Papstthum, 100 sqq. CREIGHTON, II. 3- 
Louis Al eman et la fin du grand schisme, Paris, 1905. A detailed account 
of the C. of Basel 

toria, in Latin trans., Rome, 1621 ; the Greek original by order of Gregory 
XIII , Rome, 1677 ; new Latin trans., Rome, 1612. SYLV. SYROPULOS : Vera 
hist, unionis non verce inter Grceros et Latinos, ed. by CREYGHTON, Haag, 1660, 

MANSI, XXXI., contains the documents collected by Mansi himself, and 
also the Acts published by HORATIUS JUSTINIAN, XXXI. 1356-1711, from a 
Vatican MS., 1638. The Greek and Latin texts are printed side by side. 
LABBJKUS and HARDUIN also give Justinian's Acts and their own collections. 
T. FROMMANN : Krit. Beitrdge zur Gesch. d. florentinischen Kircheneinigung, 
Halle, 1872. KNOPFLER, art. Ferrara-Florenz, in Wetzer-Welte : IV. 1363- 
1380. TSCHACKKRT, art. Ferrara-Florenz, in Herfcog, VI. 46-48. ~DoL- 
LINGER-FRIEDRICH : Papstthum, pp. 166-171. 

13. The Schism Begun. 1378. 

The death of Gregory XI. was followed by the schism of 
Western Christendom, which lasted forty years, and proved to 
be a greater misfortune for the Church than the Avignon cap- 
tivity. Anti-popes the Church had had, enough of them since 

118 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

the days of Gregory VII., from Wibert of Ravenna chosen by 
the will of Henry IV. to the feeble Peter of Corbara, elected 
under Lewis the Bavarian. Now, two lines of popes, each 
elected by a college of cardinals, reigned, the one at Rome, the 
other in Avignon, and both claiming to be in the legitimate 
succession from St. Peter. 

Gregory XI. foresaw the confusion that was likely to follow 
at his death, and sought to provide against the catastrophe of 
a disputed election, and probably also to insure the choice of 
a French pope, by pronouncing in advance an election valid, no 
matter where the conclave might be held. The rule that the 
conclave should convene in the locality where the pontiff died, 
was thus set aside. Gregory knew well the passionate feeling 
in Rome against the return of the papacy to the banks of the 
Rhone. A clash was almost inevitable. While the pope lay 
a-dying, the cardinals at several sittings attempted to agree 
upon his successor, but failed. 

On April 7, 1378, ten days after Gregory's death, the con- 
clave met in the Vatican, and the next day elected the Nea- 
politan, Bartholomew Prignano, archbishop of Bari. Of the 
sixteen cardinals present, four were Italians, eleven French- 
men, and one Spaniard, Peter de Luna, who later became fa- 
mous as Benedict XIII. The French party was weakened by 
the absence of the six cardinals, left behind at Avignon, and 
still another was absent. Of the Italians, two were Romans, 
Tebaldeschi, an old man, and Giacomo Orsini, the youngest 
member of the college. The election of an Italian not a mem- 
ber of the curia was due to factions which divided the French 
and to the compulsive attitude of the Roman populace, which 
insisted upon an Italian for pope. 

The French cardinals were unable to agree upon a candidate 
from their own number. One of the two parties into which 
they were split, the Limousin party, to which Gregory XI. and 
his predecessors had belonged, numbered six cardinals. The 
Italian mob outside the Vatican was as much a factor 
in the situation as the divisions in the conclave itself. A 
scene of wild and unrestrained turbulence prevailed in the 
square of St. Peter's. The crowd pressed its way into the 

13. THE SCHISM BEGUN. 1378. 119 

very spaces of the Vatican, and with difficulty a clearing was 
made for the entrance of all the cardinals. To prevent the 
exit of the cardinals, the Banderisi, or captains of the thir- 
teen districts into which Rome was divided, had taken posses- 
sion of the city and closed the gates. The mob, determined to 
keep the papacy on the Tiber, filled the air with angry shouts 
and threats. " We will have a Roman for pope or at least an 
Italian." Romano, romano, lo volemo, o almanco Italiano was 
the cry. On the first night soldiers clashed their spears in the 
room underneath the chamber where the conclave was met, 
and even thrust them through the ceiling. A fire of combus- 
tibles was lighted under the window. The next morning, as 
their excellencies were saying the mass of the Holy Spirit and 
engaged in other devotions, the noises became louder and more 
menacing. One cardinal, d'Aigrefeuille, whispered to Orsini, 
" better elect the devil than die." 

It was under such circumstances that the archbishop of Bari 
was chosen. After the choice had been made, and while they 
were waiting to get the archbishop's consent, six of the cardinals 
dined together and seemed to be in good spirits. But the 
mob's impatience to know what had been done would brook no 
delay, and Orsini, appearing at the window, cried out " go to 
St. Peter. " This was mistaken for an announcement that old 
Tebaldeschi, cardinal of St. Peter's, had been chosen, and a 
rush was made for the cardinal's palace to loot it, as the cus- 
tom was when a cardinal was elected pope. The crowd surged 
through the Vatican and into the room where the cardinals 
had been meeting and, as Valois puts it, " the pillage of the 
conclave had begun." To pacify the mob, two of the cardi- 
nals, half beside themselves with fright, pointed to Tebaldeschi, 
set him up on a chair, placed a white mitre on his head, and 
threw a red cloak over his shoulders. The old man tried to 
indicate that he was not the right person. But the throngs 
continued to bend down before him in obeisance for several 
hours, till it became known that the successful candidate was 

In the meantime the rest of the cardinals forsook the build- 
ing and sought refuge, some within the walls of St. Angelo, 

120 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

and four by flight beyond the walls of the city. The real pope 
was waiting for recognition while the members of the elect- 
ing college were fled. But by the next day the cardinals had 
sufficiently regained their self-possession to assemble again, 
all except the four who had put the city walls behind them, 
and Cardinal Peter de Vergne, using the customary formula, 
proclaimed to the crowd through the window : " I announce 
to you a great joy. You have a pope, and he calls himself Ur- 
ban VI." The new pontiff was crowned on April 18, in front 
of St. Peter's, by Cardinal Orsini. 

The archbishop had enjoyed the confidence of Gregory XI. 
He enjoyed a reputation for austere morals and strict con- 
formity to the rules of fasting and other observances enjoined 
by the Church. He wore a hair shirt, and was accustomed 
to retire with the Bible in his hand. At the moment of his 
election no doubt was expressed as to its validity. Nieheim, 
who was in the city at the time, declared that Urban was 
canonical pope-elect. " This is the truth," he wrote, " and 
no one can honestly deny it. " l All the cardinals in Rome 
yielded Urban submission, and in a letter dated May 8 they 
announced to the emperor and all Christians the election and 
coronation. The cardinals at Avignon wrote acknowledging 
him, and ordered the keys to the castle of St. Angelo placed 
in his hands. It is probable that no one would have thought 
of denying Urban's rights if the pope had removed to Avi- 
gnon, or otherwise yielded to the demands of the French 
members of the curia. His failure to go to France, Urban 
declared to be the cause of the opposition to him. 

Seldom has so fine an opportunity been offered to do a 
worthy thing and to win a great name as was offered to Urban 
VI. It was the opportunity to put an end to the disturbance 
in the Church by maintaining the residence of the papacy in 
its ancient seat, and restoring to it the dignity which it had 
lost by its long exile. Urban, however, was not equal to the 
occasion, and made an utter failure. He violated all the laws 
of common prudence and tact. His head seemed to be com- 
pletely turned. He estranged and insulted his cardinals. He 

i Brier's e<L, p. 16. 

13. THE SCHISM BEGUN. 1878. 121 

might have made provision for a body of warm supporters by 
the prompt appointment of new members to the college, but 
even this measure he failed to take till it was too late. The 
French king, it is true, was bent upon having the papacy re- 
turn to French soil, and controlled the French cardinals. But 
a pope of ordinary shrewdness was in position to foil the king. 
This quality Urban VI. lacked, and the sacred college, stung 
by his insults, came to regard him as an intruder in St. Peter's 

In his concern for right living, Urban early took occasion 
in a public allocution to reprimand the cardinals for their 
worldliness and for living away from their sees. He forbade 
their holding more than a single appointment and accepting 
gifts from princes. To their demand that Avignon continue 
to be the seat of the papacy, Urban brusquely told them that 
Rome and the papacy were joined together, and he would not 
separate them. As the papacy belonged not to France but to 
the whole world, he would distribute the promotions to the 
sacred college among the nations. 

Incensed at the attack made upon their habits and per- 
quisites, and upon their national sympathies, the French 
cardinals, giving the heat of the city as the pretext, removed 
one by one to Anagni, while Urban took up his summer resi- 
dence at Tivoli. His Italian colleagues followed him, but 
they also went over to the French. No pope had ever been 
left more alone. Forming a compact body, the French mem- 
bers of the curia demanded the pope's resignation. The 
Italians, who at first proposed the calling of a council, ac- 
quiesced. The French seceders then issued a declaration, 
dated Aug. 2, in which Urban was denounced as an apostate, 
and his election declared void in view of the duress under 
which it was accomplished. 1 It asserted that the cardinals 
at the time were in mortal terror from the Romans. Now 
that he would not resign, they anathematized him. Urban 
replied in a document called the Factum, insisting upon the 
validity of his election. Retiring to Fondi, in Neapolitan 
territory, the French cardinals proceeded to a new election, 

1 The document is given by Hefele, VI. 730-734. 

122 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Sept. 20, 1378, the choice falling upon one of their number, 
Robert of Geneva, the son of Amadeus, count of Geneva. 
He was one of those who, four months before, had pointed 
out Tebaldeschi to the Roman mob. The three Italian cardi- 
nals, though they did not actively participate in the election, 
offered no resistance. Urban is said to have received the 
news with tears, and to have expressed regret for his untact- 
f ul and self-willed course. Perhaps he recalled the fate of his 
fellow-Neapolitan, Peter of Murrhone, whose lack of worldly 
wisdom a hundred years before had lost him the papal crown. 
To establish himself on the papal throne, he appointed 29 
cardinals. But it was too late to prevent the schism which 
Gregory XI. had feared and a wise ruler would have averted. 
Robert of Geneva, at the time of his election 3G years old, 
came to the papal honor with his hands red from the bloody 
massacre of Cesena. He had the reputation of being a poli- 
tician and a fast liver. He was consecrated Oct. 31 under 
the name of Clement VII. It was a foregone conclusion 
that he would remove the papal seat back to Avignon. 
He first attempted to overthrow Urban on his own soil, 
but the attempt failed. Rome resisted, and the castle of St. 
Angelo, which was in the hands of his supporters, he lost, 
but not until its venerable walls were demolished, so that at 
a later time the very goats clambered over the stones. He 
secured the support of Joanna, and Louis of Anjou whom she 
had chosen as the heir of her kingdom, but the war which 
broke out between Urban and Naples fell out to Urban's 
advantage. The duke of Anjou was deposed, and Charles 
of Durazzo, of the royal house of Hungary, Joanna's natural 
heir, appointed as his successor. Joanna herself fell into 
Charles' hands and was executed, 1382, on the charge of 
having murdered her first husband. The duke of Brunswick 
was her fourth marital attempt. Clement VII. bestowed 
upon the duke of Anjou parts of the State of the Church 
and the high-sounding but empty title of duke of Adria. 
A portion of Urban's reward for crowning Charles, 1381, 
was the lordship over Capria, Amalfi, Fondi, and other locali- 
ties, which he bestowed upon his unprincipled and worthless 

13. THE SCHISM BEGUN. 1378. 123 

nephew, Francis Prignano. In the war over Naples, the pope 
had made free use of the treasure of the Roman churches. 

Clement's cause in Italy was lost, and there was nothing for 
him to do but to fall back upon his supporter, Charles V. He 
returned to France by way of the sea and Marseilles. 

Thus the schism was completed, and Western Europe had 
the spectacle of two popes elected by the same college of 
cardinals without a dissenting voice, and each making full 
claims to the prerogative of the supreme pontiff of the Chris- 
tian world. Each pope fulminated the severest judgments of 
heaven against the other. The nations of Europe and its uni- 
versities were divided in their allegiance or, as it was called, 
their "obedience." The University of Paris, at first neutral, 
declared in favor of Robert of Geneva, 1 as did Savoy, the 
kingdoms of Spain, Scotland, and parts of Germany. Eng- 
land, Sweden, and the larger part of Italy supported Urban. 
The German emperor, Charles IV., was about to take the same 
side when he died, Nov. 29, 1378. Urban also had the vigorous 
support of Catherine of Siena. Hearing of the election which 
had taken place at Fondi she wrote to Urban : " I have heard 
that those devils in human form have resorted to an election. 
They have chosen not a vicar of Christ, but an anti-christ. 
Never will I cease, dear father, to look upon you as Christ's 
true vicar on earth." 

The papal schism which Pastor has called "the greatest 
misfortune that could be thought of for the Church" 2 soon 
began to call forth indignant protests from the best men of the 
time. Western Christendom had never known such a scan- 
dal. The seamless coat of Christ was rent in twain, and Solo- 
mon's words could no longer be applied, " My dove is but 

1 The full documentary accounts are given in the Chartularium, III. 661- 
576. Valois gives a very detailed treatment of the allegiance rendered to the 
two popes, especially in vol. II. Even in Sweden and Ireland Clement had 
some support, hut England, in part owing to her wars with France, gave un- 
divided submission to Urban. 

2 Pastor, p. 143 sqq., quotes a German poem which strikingly sets forth the 
evils of the schism, and Pastor himself says that nothing did so much as the 
schism to prepare the way for the defection from the papacy in the sixteenth 

124 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

one." 1 The divine claims of the papacy itself began to be 
matter of doubt. Writers like Wyclif made demands upon 
the pope to return to Apostolic simplicity of manners in sharp 
language such as no one had ever dared to use before. Many 
sees had two incumbents ; abbeys, two abbots ; parishes, two 
priests. The maintenance of two popes involved an increased 
financial burden, and both papal courts added to the old prac- 
tices new inventions to extract revenue. Clement VII. 's 
agents went everywhere, striving to win support for his obedi- 
ence, and the nations, taking advantage of the situation, mag- 
nified their authority to the detriment of the papal power. 

The following is a list of the popes of the Roman and 
Avignon lines, and the Pisan line whose legitimacy has now 
no advocates in the Roman communion. 


Urban VI., 1378-1389. Clement VII., 1378-1394. 

Boniface IX., 1389-1404. Benedict XIII., 1394-1409. 

Innocent VII., 1404-1406. Deposed at Pisa, 1409, and at 

Gregory XII., 1406-1415. Constance, 1417, d. 1424. 
Deposed at Pisa, 1409. Resigned 
at Constance, 1415, d. 1417. 


Alexander V., 1409-1410. 
John XXIII., 1410-1415. 
Martin V., 1417-1431. 
Acknowledged by the whole Latin Church. 

The question of the legitimacy of Urban VI. 's pontificate is 
still a matter of warm dispute. As neither pope nor council 
has given a decision on the question, Catholic scholars feel no 
constraint in discussing it. French writers have been inclined 
to leave the matter open. This was the case with Bossuet, 
Mansi, Martene, as it is with modern French writers. Valois 
hesitatingly, Salembier positively, decides for Urban. Histo- 
rians, not moved by French sympathies, pronounce strongly 
in favor of the Roman line, as do Hef ele, Funk, Hergenrother- 
Kirsch, Denifle, and Pastor. The formal recognition of 
Urban by all the cardinals and their official announcement of 
1 Adam of Usk, p. 218, and other writers. 

13. THE SCHISM BEGUN. 1378. 125 

his election to the princes would seem to put the validity 
of his election beyond doubt. On the other hand, the decla- 
ratio sent forth by the cardinals nearly four months after 
Urban's election affirms that the cardinals were in fear of 
their lives when they voted ; and according to the theory of 
the canon law, constraint invalidates an election as constraint 
invalidated Pascal II. 's concession to Henry V. It was the 
intention of the cardinals, as they affirm, to elect one of their 
number, till the tumult became so violent and threatening 
that to protect themselves they precipitately elected Pri- 
gnano. They state that the people had even filled the air 
with the cry, " let them be killed," moriantur. A panic 
prevailed. When the tumult abated, the cardinals sat down 
to dine, and after dinner were about to proceed to a re-elec- 
tion, as they say, when the tumult again became threatening, 
and the doors of the room where they were sitting were 
broken open, so that they were forced to flee for their lives. 

To this testimony were added the depositions of individual 
cardinals later. Had Prignano proved complaisant to the 
wishes of the French party, there is no reason to suspect that 
the validity of his election would ever have been disputed. 
Up to the time when the vote was cast for Urban, the cardi- 
nals seem not to have been under duress from fear, but to 
have acted freely. After the vote had been cast, they felt 
their lives were in danger. 1 If the cardinals had proceeded 
to a second vote, as Valois has said, Urban might have been 
elected. The constant communications which passed between 
Charles V. and the French party at Anagni show him to have 
been a leading factor in the proceedings which followed and 
the reconvening of the conclave which elected Robert of 
Geneva. 2 

i This is the judgment of Pastor, I. 119. 

3 Valois, 1. 144, devotes much space to the part Charles took in preparing 
the way for the schism, and declares he was responsible for the part France 
took in it and in rejecting Urban VI. Hergenrother says all the good he can 
of the Roman line and all the evil he can of the Avignon line. Clement he pro- 
nounces a man of elastic conscience, and Benedict XIII., his successor, as 
always ready in words for the greatest sacrifices, and farthest from them when 
it came to deeds. 

126 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

On the other hand, the same body of cardinals which elected 
Urban deposed him, and, in their capacity as princes of the 
Church, unanimously chose Robert as his successor. The 
question of the authority of the sacred college to exercise this 
prerogative is still a matter of doubt. It received the abdica- 
tion of Coelestine V. and elected a successor to him while he 
was still living. In that case, however, the papal throne be- 
came vacant by the supreme act of the pope himself. 

14. Further Progress of the Schism. 1378-1409. 

The territory of Naples remained the chief theatre of the 
conflict between the papal rivals, Louis of Anjou, who had 
the support of Clement VII., continuing to assert his claim to 
the throne. In 1383 Urban secretly left Rome for Naples, 
but was there held in virtual confinement till he had granted 
Charles of Durazzo's demands. He then retired to Noccra, 
which belonged to his nephew. The measures taken by the 
cardinals at Anagni had taught him no lesson. His insane 
severity and self-will continued, and brought him into the 
danger of losing the papal crown. Six of his cardinals en- 
tered into a conspiracy to dethrone him, or at least to make 
him subservient to the curia. The plot was discovered, and 
Urban launched the interdict against Naples, whose king was 
supposed to have been a party to it. The offending cardinals 
were imprisoned in an old cistern, and afterwards subjected 
to the torture. 1 Forced to give up the town and to take 
refuge in the fortress, the relentless pontiff is said to have 
gone three or four times daily to the window, and, with can- 
dles burning and to the sound of a bell, to have solemnly 
pronounced the formula of excommunication against the be- 
sieging troops. Allowed to depart, and proceeding with the 
members of his household across the country, Urban reached 
Trani and embarked on a Genoese ship which finally landed 
him at Genoa, 1386. On the way, the crew threatened to 
carry him to Avignon, and had to be bought off by the uu- 

1 Nieheim, p. 91. See also pp. 103 sq., 110, for the further treatment Of 
the cardinals, which was worthy of Pharaoh. 


fortunate pontiff. Was ever a ruler in a worse predicament, 
beating about on the Mediterranean, than Urban ! Five of 
the cardinals who had been dragged along in chains now met 
with a cruel end. Adam Aston, the English cardinal, Urban 
had released at the request of the English king. But towards 
the rest of the alleged conspirators he showed the heartless re- 
lentlessness of a tyrant. The chronicler Nieheim, who was 
with the pope at Naples and Nocera, declares that his heart 
was harder than granite. Different rumors were afloat con- 
cerning the death the prelates were subjected to, one stating 
they had been thrown into the sea, another that they had 
their heads cut off with an axe; another report ran that their 
bodies were buried in a stable after being covered with lime 
and then burnt. 

In the meantime, two of the prelates upon whom Urban 
had conferred the red hat, both Italians, went over to Clement 
VII. and were graciously received. 

Breaking away from Genoa, Urban went by way of Lucca 
to Perugia, and then with another army started off for Naples. 
Charles of Durazzo, who had been called to the throne of 
Hungary and murdered in 1386, was succeeded by his young 
son Ladislaus (1386-1414), but his claim was contested by 
the heir of Louis of Anjou (d. 1384). The pontiff got no 
farther than Ferentino, and turning back was carried in a 
carriage to Rome, where he again entered the Vatican, a few 
months before his death, Oct. 15, 1389. 

Bartholomew Prignano had disappointed every expectation. 
He was his own worst enemy. He was wholly lacking in 
common prudence and the spirit of conciliation. It is to his 
credit that, as Nieheira urges, he never made ecclesiastical 
preferment the object of sale. Whatever were his virtues 
before he received the tiara, he had as pope shown himself 
in every instance utterly unfit for the responsibilities of 
a ruler. 

Clement VII., who arrived in Avignon in June, 1879, 
stooped before the kings of France, Charles V. (d. 1380) and 
Charles VI. He was diplomatic and versatile where his 
rival was impolitic and intractable. He knew how to 

128 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

entertain at his table with elegance. 1 The distinguished 
preacher, Vincent Ferrer, gave him his support. Among the 
new cardinals he appointed was the young prince of Luxem- 
burg, who enjoyed a great reputation for saintliness. At the 
prince's death, in 1387, miracles were said to be performed at 
his tomb, a circumstance which seemed to favor the claims of 
the Avignon pope. 

Clement's embassy to Bohemia for a while had hopes of 
securing a favorable declaration from the Bohemian king, 
Wenzil, but was disappointed. 2 The national pride of the 
French was Clement's chief dependence, and for the king's 
support he was obliged to pay a humiliating price by grant- 
ing the royal demands to bestow ecclesiastical offices and tax 
Church property. As a means of healing the schism, Clement 
proposed a general council, promising, in case it decided in his 
favor, to recognize Urban as leading cardinal. The first 
schismatic pope died suddenly of apoplexy, Sept. 16, 1394, 
having outlived Urban VI. five years. 

Boniface IX., who succeeded Urban VI., was, like him, a 
Neapolitan, and only thirty -five at the time of his election. 
He was a man of fine presence, and understood the art of 
ruling, but lacked the culture of the schools, and could not 
even write, and was poor at saying the services. 3 He had the 
satisfaction of seeing the kingdom of Naples yield to the 
Roman obedience. He also secured from the city of Rome 
full submission, and the document, by which it surrendered to 
him its republican liberties, remained for centuries the foun- 
dation of the relations of the municipality to the Apostolic 
See. 4 Bologna, Perugia, Viterbo, and other towns of Italy 
which had acknowledged Clement, were brought into sub- 
mission to him, so that before his death the entire peninsula 
was under his obedience except Genoa, which Charles VI. had 
reduced. All men's eyes began again to turn to Rome. 

In 1390, the Jubilee Year which Urban VI. had appointed 
attracted streams of pilgrims to Rome from Germany, Hun- 

i Nieheim, p. 124. Valois, II. 282, 299 sqq. 

* Nescient scribere etiam male cantabat, Nieheim, p. 130. 

* Gregoroviua, VI. 647 sqq. ; Valois, II. 162, 166 sqq. 


gary, Bohemia, Poland, and England and other lands, as did 
also the Jubilee of 1400, commemorating the close of one and 
the beginning of another century. If Rome profited by these 
celebrations, Boniface also made in other ways the most of 
his opportunity, and his agents throughout Christendom re- 
turned with the large sums which they had realized from the 
sale of dispensations and indulgences. Boniface left behind 
him a reputation for avarice and freedom in the sale of eccle- 
siastical concessions. 1 He was also notorious for his nepotism, 
enriching his brothers Andrew and John and other relatives 
with offices and wealth. Such offences, however, the Romans 
could easily overlook in view of the growing regard through- 
out Europe for the Roman line of popes and the waning influ- 
ence of the Avignon line. 

The preponderant influence of Ladislaus secured the elec- 
tion of still another Neapolitan, Cardinal Cosimo dei Miglio- 
rati, who took the name of Innocent VII. He also was only 
thirty-five years old at the time of his elevation to the papal 
chair, a doctor of both laws and expert in the management of 
affairs. The members of the conclave, before proceeding to 
an election, signed a document whereby each bound himself, 
if elected pope, to do all in his power to put an end to the 
schism. The English chronicler, Adam of Usk, who was 
present at the coronation, concludes the graphic description 
he gives of the ceremonies 2 with a lament over the desolate 
condition of the Roman city. How much is Rome to be 
pitied I he exclaims, " for, once thronged with princes and 
their palaces, she is now a place of hovels, thieves, wolves, 
worms, full of desert spots and laid waste by her own citizens 
who rend each other in pieces. Once her empire devoured 

1 Erat insatiabtlis vorago et in avaricia nullus similis ei, Nieheim, p. 119. 
Nieheim, to be sure, was disappointed in not receiving office under Boniface, but 
other contemporaries say the same thing. Adam of Usk, p. 269, states that, 
" though gorged with simony, Boniface to his dying day was never filled." 

* Chronicle, p. 262 sqq. This is one of the most full and interesting ac- 
counts extant of the coronation of a mediaeval pope. Usk describes the con- 
clave as well as the coronation, and he mentions expressly how, on his way 
from St. Peter's to the Lateran, Innocent purposely turned aside from St. 
Clement's, near which stood the bust of Pope Joan and her son. 

128 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

entertain at his table with elegance. 1 The distinguished 
preacher, Vincent Ferrer, gave him his support. Among the 
new cardinals he appointed was the young prince of Luxem- 
burg, who enjoyed a great reputation for saintliness. At the 
prince's death, in 1387, miracles were said to be performed at 
his tomb, a circumstance which seemed to favor the claims of 
the Avignon pope. 

Clement's embassy to Bohemia for a while had hopes of 
securing a favorable declaration from the Bohemian king, 
Wenzil, but was disappointed. 2 The national pride of the 
French was Clement's chief dependence, and for the king's 
support he was obliged to pay a humiliating price by grant- 
ing the royal demands to bestow ecclesiastical offices and tax 
Church property. As a means of healing the schism, Clement 
proposed a general council, promising, in case it decided in his 
favor, to recognize Urban as leading cardinal. The first 
schismatic pope died suddenly of apoplexy, Sept. 16, 1394, 
having outlived Urban VI. five years. 

Boniface IX., who succeeded Urban VI., was, like him, a 
Neapolitan, and only thirty -five at the time of his election. 
He was a man of fine presence, and understood the art of 
ruling, but lacked the culture of the schools, and could not 
even write, and was poor at saying the services. 8 He had the 
satisfaction of seeing the kingdom of Naples yield to the 
Roman obedience. He also secured from the city of Rome 
full submission, and the document, by which it surrendered to 
him its republican liberties, remained for centuries the foun- 
dation of the relations of the municipality to the Apostolic 
See. 4 Bologna, Perugia, Viterbo, and other towns of Italy 
which had acknowledged Clement, were brought into sub- 
mission to him, so that before his death the entire peninsula 
was under his obedience except Genoa, which Charles VI. had 
reduced. All men's eyes began again to turn to Rome. 

In 1390, the Jubilee Year which Urban VI. had appointed 
attracted streams of pilgrims to Rome from Germany, Hun- 

i Niehelm, p. 124. * Valois, II. 282, 299 sqq. 

* Nescient scribere etiam male cantabat, Nieheim, p. 130. 
4 Gregorovius, VI. 547 sqq. ; Valois, II. 162, 166 sqq. 


gary, Bohemia, Poland, and England and other lands, as did 
also the Jubilee of 1400, commemorating the close of one and 
the beginning of another century. If Rome profited by these 
celebrations, Boniface also made in other ways the most of 
his opportunity, and his agents throughout Christendom re- 
turned with the large sums which they had realized from the 
sale of dispensations and indulgences. Boniface left behind 
him a reputation for avarice and freedom in the sale of eccle- 
siastical concessions. 1 He was also notorious for his nepotism, 
enriching his brothers Andrew and John and other relatives 
with offices and wealth. Such offences, however, the Romans 
could easily overlook in view of the growing regard through- 
out Europe for the Roman line of popes and the waning influ- 
ence of the Avignon line. 

The preponderant influence of Ladislaus secured the elec- 
tion of still another Neapolitan, Cardinal Cosimo dei Miglio- 
rati, who took the name of Innocent VII. He also was only 
thirty-five years old at the time of his elevation to the papal 
chair, a doctor of both laws and expert in the management of 
affairs. The members of the conclave, before proceeding to 
an election, signed a document whereby each bound himself, 
if elected pope, to do all in his power to put an end to the 
schism. The English chronicler, Adam of Usk, who was 
present at the coronation, concludes the graphic description 
he gives of the ceremonies 2 with a lament over the desolate 
condition of the Roman city. How much is Rome to be 
pitied I he exclaims, " for, once thronged with princes and 
their palaces, she is now a place of hovels, thieves, wolves, 
worms, full of desert spots and laid waste by her own citizens 
who rend each other in pieces. Once her empire devoured 

1 Erat insatiabilis vorago et in avaricia nullus similis ci, Nieheim, p. 119. 
Nieheim, to be sure, was disappointed in not receiving office under Boniface, but 
other contemporaries say the same thing. Adam of Usk, p. 259, states that, 
" though gorged with simony, Boniface to his dying day was never filled." 

* Chronicle, p. 262 sqq. This is one of the most full and interesting ac- 
counts extant of the coronation of a mediaeval pope. Usk describes the con- 
clave as well as the coronation, and he mentions expressly how, on his way 
from St. Peter's to the Lateran, Innocent purposely turned aside from St. 
Clement's, near which stood the bust of Pope Joan and her don. 

130 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1617. 

the world with the sword, and now her priesthood devours ii 
with mummery. Hence the lines 

" ' The Roman bites at all, and those he cannot bite, he hates. 

Of rich he hears the call, but 'gainst tne poor he shuts his gates. M> 

Following the example of his two predecessors, Innocent 
excommunicated the Avignon anti-pope and his cardinals, 
putting them into the same list with heretics, pirates, and 
brigands. In revenge for his nephew's cold-blooded slaughter 
of eleven of the chief men of the city, whose bodies he threw 
out of a window, he was driven from Rome, and after great 
hardships he reached Viterbo. But the Romans soon found 
Innocent's rule preferable to the rule of Ladislaus, king of 
Naples and papal protector, and he was recalled, the nephew 
whose hands were reeking with blood making public entry 
into the Vatican with his uncle. 

The last pope of the Roman line was Gregory XII. Angelo 
Correr, cardinal of St. Marks, Venice, elected 1406, was sur- 
passed in tenacity as well as ability by the last of the Avignon 
popes, elected 1394, and better known as Peter de Luna of 
Aragon, one of the cardinals who joined in the revolt against 
Urban VI. and in the election of Clement VII. at Fondi. 

Under these two pontiffs the controversy over the schism 
grew more and more acute and the scandal more and more 
intolerable. The nations of Western Europe were weary of 
the open and flagitious traffic in benefices and other ecclesi- 
astical privileges, the fulminations of one pope against the 
other, and the division of sees and parishes between rival 
claimants. The University of Paris took the leading part 
in agitating remedial measures, and in the end the matter was 
taken wholly out of the hands of the two popes. The cardi- 
nals stepped into the foreground and, in the face of all ca- 
nonical precedent, took the course which ultimately resulted 
in the reunion of the Church under one head. 
V Before Gregory's election, the Roman cardinals, number- 
ing fourteen, again entered into a compact stipulating that 
the successful candidate should by all means put an end to 
the schism, even, if necessary, by the abdication of his office. 


Gregory was fourscore at the time, and the chief considera- 
tion which weighed in his choice was that in men arrived at 
his age ambition usually runs low, and that Gregory would 
be more ready to deny himself for the good of the Church 
than a younger man. 

Peter de Luna, one of the most vigorous personalities who 
have ever claimed the papal dignity, had the spirit and much 
of the ability of Hildebrand and his namesake, Gregory IX. 
But it was his bad star to be elected in the Avignon and not 
in the Roman succession. Had he been in the Roman line, 
he would probably have made his mark among the great 
ruling pontiffs. His nationality also was against him. The 
French had little heart in supporting a Spaniard and, at 
Clement's death, the relations between the French king and 
the Avignon pope at once lost their cordiality. Peter was 
energetic of mind and in action, a shrewd observer, magni- 
fied his office, and never yielded an inch in the matter of 
papal prerogative. Through the administrations of three 
Roman pontiffs, he held on firmly to his office, outlived the 
two Reformatory councils of Pisa and Constance, and yielded 
not up this mortal flesh till the close of the first quarter of 
the fifteenth century, and was still asserting his claims and 
maintaining the dignity of pope at the time of his death. Be- 
fore his election, he likewise entered into a solemn com- 
pact with his cardinals, promising to bend every effort to 
heal the unholy schism, even if the price were his own ab- 

The professions of both popes were in the right direction. 
They were all that could be desired, and all that remained was 
for either of them or for both of them to resign and make 
free room for a new candidate. The problem would thus 
have been easily settled, and succeeding generations might 
have canonized both pontiffs for their voluntary self-abnega- 
tion. But it took ten years to bring Gregory to this state of 
mind, and then almost the last vestige of power had been 
taken from him. Peter de Luna never yielded. 

Undoubtedly, at the time of the election of Gregory XII., 
the papacy was passing through one of the grave crises in its 

132 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D, 1294-1517. 

history. There were not wanting men who said, like Langen- 
stein, vice-chancellor of the University of Paris, that perhaps 
it was God's purpose that there should be two popes indefi- 
nitely, even as David's kingdom was divided under two 
sovereigns. 1 Yea, and there were men who argued publicly 
that it made little difference how many there were, two or 
three, or ten or twelve, or as many as there were nations. 2 

At his first consistory Gregory made a good beginning, 
when he asserted that, for the sake of the good cause of 
securing a united Christendom, he was willing to travel by 
land or by sea, by land, if necessary, with a pilgrim's staff, 
by sea in a fishing smack, in order to come to an agreement 
with Benedict. He wrote to his rival on the Rhone, de- 
claring that, like the woman who was ready to renounce 
her child rather than see it cut asunder, so each of them 
should be willing to cede his authority rather than be re- 
sponsible for the continuance of the schism. He laid his 
hand on the New Testament and quoted the words that 
"he who exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that 
humbleth himself shall be exalted." He promised to 
abdicate, if Benedict would do the same, that the cardinals 
of both lines might unite together in a new election ; and he 
further promised not to add to the number of his cardinals, 
except to keep the number equal to the number of the 
Avignon college. 

Benedict's reply was shrewd, if not equally demonstrative. 
He, too, lamented the schism, which he pronounced detestable, 
wretched, and dreadful, 8 but gently setting aside Gregory's 
blunt proposal, suggested as the best resort the via discussionis, 
or the path of discussion, and that the cardinals of both lines 
should meet together, talk the matter over, and see what 
should be done, and then, if necessary, one or both popes 
might abdicate. Both popes in their communications called 

* Da Pin, II. 821. 

1 Letter of the Univ. of Paris to Clement VII., dated July 17, 1804. Chartul. 
III. 638, nihil omnino curandum quotpapae tint, et non modo duos aut tres, 
sed decem aut duodecim immo et singulis reynis singulos prtjfci poMe, etc. 

*Hac execranda et detestanda, diraque divisio, Nieheim, pp. '200-213, 
gives both letters entire. 


themselves "servant of the servants of God." Gregory ad- 
dressed Benedict as " Peter de Luna, whom some peoples in 
this wretched miserabili schism call Benedict XIII. "; 
and Benedict addressed the pope on the Tiber as " Angelus 
Correr, whom some, adhering to him in this most destructive 
pernicioso schism, call Gregory XII." " We are both old 
men," wrote Benedict. " Time is short ; hasten, and do not 
delay in this good cause. Let us both embrace the ways of 
salvation and peace." 

Nothing could have been finer, but it was quickly felt that 
while both popes expressed themselves as ready to abdicate, 
positive as the professions of both were, each wanted to have 
the advantage when the time came for the election of the 
new pontiff to rule over the reunited Church . 

As early as 1381, the University of Paris appealed to the 
king of France to insist upon the calling of a general council 
as the way to terminate the schism. But the duke of Anjou 
had the spokesman of the university, Jean Ronce, imprisoned, 
and the university was commanded to keep silence on the 

Prior to this appeal, two individuals had suggested the 
same idea, Konrad of Gelnhausen, and Henry of Langenstein, 
otherwise known as Henry of Hassia. Konrad, who wrote 
in 1380, 1 and whose views led straight on to the theory of 
the supreme authority of councils, 2 affirmed that there were 
two heads of the Church, and that Christ never fails it, even 
though the earthly head may fail by death or error. The 
Church is not the pope and the cardinals, but the body of 
the faithful, and this body gets its inner life directly from 
Christ, and is so far infallible. In this way he answers those 
who were forever declaring that in the absence of the pope's 
call there would be no council, even if all the prelates were 
assembled, but only a conventicle. 

In more emphatic terms, Henry of Langenstein, in 1381, 
justified the calling of a council without the pope's interven- 

1 Gelnhausen's tract, De congregando concilio in temporc schtematis, in 
Martene-Durand, Thesaurus nov. anecd., II. 1200-1226. 
a So Pastor, I. 185. See also, Schwab, Geraon, p. 124 sqq. 

134 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

tion. 1 The institution of the papacy by Christ, he declared, 
did not involve the idea that the action of the pope was 
always necessary, either in originating or consenting to legis- 
lation. The Church might have instituted the papacy, even 
had Christ not appointed it. If the cardinals should elect a 
pontiff not agreeable to the Church, the Church might set 
their choice aside. The validity of a council did not depend 
upon the summons or the ratification of a pope. Secular 
princes might call such a synod. A general council, as the 
representative of the entire Church, is above the cardinals, 
yea, above the pope himself. Such a council cannot err, but 
the cardinals and the pope may err. 

The views of Langenstein, vice-chancellor of the University 
of Paris, represented the views of the faculties of that insti- 
tution. They were afterwards advocated by John Gerson, 
one of the most influential men of his century, and one of 
the most honored of all the centuries. Among those who 
took the opposite view was the English Dominican and con- 
fessor of Benedict XIII. , John Hayton. The University of 
Paris he called "a daughter of Satan, mother of error, 
sower of sedition, and the pope's detainer," and declared the 
pope was to be forced by no human tribunal, but to follow 
God and his own conscience. 

In 1394, the University of Paris proposed three methods 
of healing the schism 3 which became the platform over which 
the issue was afterwards discussed, namely, the via cessionis^ 
or the abdication of both popes, the via compromissi, an adju- 
dication of the claims of both by a commission, and the via 
synodi^ or the convention of a general council to which the 
settlement of the whole matter should be left. No act in 
the whole history of this famous literary institution has given 
it wider fame than this proposal, coupled with the activity it 
displayed to bring the schism to a close. The method pre- 
ferred by its faculties was the first, the abdication of both 
popes, which it regarded as the simplest remedy. It was 

1 Consilium pacis de wiione et reformation* ecclesias in concilia univer- 
sali quarenda, Van der Hardt, II. 3-60, and Du Pin, Opp. Gerson, II. 810 
sqq. (Jhartul. III. p. 608 sqq. 


suggested that the new election, after the popes had abdicated, 
should be consummated by the cardinals in office at the time 
of Gregory XL's decease, 1378, and still surviving, or by a 
union of the cardinals of both obediences. 

The last method, settlement by a general council, which 
the university regarded as offering the most difficulty, it 
justified on the ground that the pope is subject to the Church 
as Christ was subject to his mother and Joseph. The au- 
thority of such a council lay in its constitution according to 
Christ's words, " where two or three are gathered together 
in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Its member- 
ship should consist of doctors of theology and the laws taken 
from the older universities, and deputies of the orders, as well 
as bishops, many of whom were uneducated, illiterati. 1 

Clement VII. showed his displeasure with the university 
by forbidding its further intermeddling, and by condemning 
his cardinals who, without his permission, had met and rec- 
ommended him to adopt one of the three ways. At Clem- 
ent's death the king of France called upon the Avignon col- 
lege to postpone the election of a successor, but, surmising 
the contents of the letter, they prudently left it unopened 
until they had chosen Benedict XIII. Benedict at once 
manifested the warmest zeal in the healing of the schism, 
and elaborated his plan for meeting with Boniface IX., and 
coining to some agreement with him. These friendly propo- 
sitions were offset by a summons from the king's delegates, 
calling upon the two pontiffs to abdicate, and all but two of 
the Avignon cardinals favored the measure. But Benedict 
declared that such a course would seem to imply constraint, 
and issued a bull against it. 

The two parties continued to express deep concern for the 
healing of the schism, but neither would yield. Benedict 
gained the support of the University of Toulouse, and strength- 
ened himself by the promotion of Peter d'Ailly, chancellor 
of the University of Paris, to the episcopate. The famous in- 
quisitor, Nicolas Eymericus, also one of his cardinals, was a 
firm advocate of Benedict's divine claims. The difficulties 

1 ChartuL, I. 620. 

136 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

were increased by the wavering course of Charles VI., 1380- 
1412, a man of feeble mind, and twice afflicted with insanity, 
whose brothers and uncles divided the rule of the kingdom 
amongst themselves. French councils attempted to decide 
upon a course for the nation to pursue, and a third council, 
meeting in Paris, 1398, and consisting of 11 archbishops and 
60 bishops, all theretofore supporters of the Avignon pope, de- 
cided upon the so-called subtraction of obedience from Bene- 
dict. In spite of these discouragements, Benedict continued 
loyal to himself. He was forsaken by his cardinals and be- 
sieged by French troops in his palace and wounded. The 
spectacle of his isolation touched the heart and conscience of 
the French people, and the decree ordering the subtraction 
of obedience was annulled by the national parliament of 1403, 
which professed allegiance anew, and received from him full 

When Gregory XII. was elected in 1406, the controversy 
over the schism was at white heat. England, Castile, and 
the German king, Wenzil, had agreed to unite with France in 
bringing it to an end. Pushed by the universal clamor, by the 
agitation of the University of Paris, and especially by the feel- 
ing which prevailed in France, Gregory and Benedict saw that 
the situation was in danger of being controlled by other hands 
than their own, and agreed to meet at Savona on the Gulf of 
Genoa to discuss their differences. In October, 1407, Bene- 
dict, attended by a military guard, went as far as Porto 
Venere and Savona. Gregory got as far as Lucca, when he de- 
clined to go farther, on the plea that Savona was in territory 
controlled by the French and on other pretexts. Nieheim rep- 
resents the Roman pontiff as dissimulating during the whole 
course of the proceedings and as completely under the influ- 
ence of his nephews and other favorites, who imposed upon the 
weakness of the old man, and by his doting generosity were 
enabled to live in luxury. At Lucca they spent their time 
in dancing and merry-making. This writer goes on to say 
that Gregory put every obstacle in the way of union. 1 He is 

1 Nieheim, pp. 237, 242, 274, etc., manifeate impedire modis omnibus conar 


represented by another writer as having spent more in bonbons 
than his predecessors did for their wardrobes and tables, and 
as being only a shadow with bones and skin. 1 

Benedict's support was much weakened by the death of 
the king's brother, the duke of Orleans, who had been his 
constant supporter. France threatened neutrality, and Bene- 
dict, fearing seizure by the French commander at Genoa, beat 
a retreat to Perpignan, a fortress at the foot of the Pyrenees, 
six miles from the Mediterranean. In May of the same year 
France again decreed " subtraction," and a national French 
assembly in 1408 approved the calling of a council. The last 
stages of the contest were approaching. 

Seven of Gregory's cardinals broke away from him, and, 
leaving him at Lucca, went to Pisa, where they issued a mani- 
festo appealing from a poorly informed pope to a better 
informed one, from Christ's vicar to Christ himself, and to the 
decision of a general council. Two more followed. Gregory 
further injured his cause by breaking his solemn engagement 
and appointing four cardinals, May, 1408, two of them his 
nephews, and a few months later he added ten more. Cardi- 
nals of the Avignon obedience joined the Roman cardinals 
at Pisa and brought the number up to thirteen. Retiring to 
Livorno on the beautiful Italian lake of that name, and acting 
as if the popes were deposed, they as rulers of the Church 
appointed a general council to meet at Pisa, March 25, 1409. 

As an offset, Gregory summoned a council of his own to 
meet in the territory either of Ravenna or Aquileja. Many 
of his closest followers had forsaken him, and even his native 
city of Venice withdrew from him its support. In the mean- 
time Ladislaus had entered Rome and been hailed as king. 
It is, however, probable that this was with the consent of 
Gregory himself, who hoped thereby to gain sympathy for 
his cause. Benedict also exercised his sovereign power as 
pontiff and summoned a council to meet at Perpignan, 
Nov. 1, 1408. 

The word " council," now that the bold initiative was taken, 
was hailed as pregnant with the promise of sure relief from 
1 Vita, Muratori, III., II., 838, solum sptritus cum ostribus etpelle. 

188 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1617. 

the disgrace and confusion into which Western Christendom 
had been thrown and of a reunion of the Church. 

15. The Council of Pisa. 

The three councils of Pisa, 1409, Constance, 1414, and 
Basel, 1431, of which the schism was the occasion, are known 
in history as the Reformatory councils. Of the tasks they 
set out to accomplish, the healing of the schism and the insti- 
tution of disciplinary reforms in the Church, the first they ac- 
complished, but with the second they made little progress. 
They represent the final authority of general councils in the 
affairs of the Church a view, called the conciliary theory 
in distinction from the supreme authority of the papacy. 

The Pisan synod marks an epoch in the history of Western 
Christendom not so much on account of what it actually ac- 
complished as because it was the first revolt in council against 
the theory of papal absolutism which had been accepted for 
centuries. It followed the ideas of Gerson and Langenstein, 
namely, that the Church is the Church even without the 
presence of a pope, and that an oecumenical council is legiti- 
mate which meets not only in the absence of his assent but 
in the face of his protest. Representing intellectually the 
weight of the Latin world and the larger part of its constit- 
uency, the assembly was a momentous event leading in the 
opposite direction from the path laid out by Hildebrand, 
Innocent III., and their successors. It was a mighty blow 
at the old system of Church government. 

While Gregory XII. was tarrying at Rimini, as a refugee, 
under the protection of Charles Malatesta, and Benedict XIII. 
was confined to the seclusion of Perpignan, the synod was 
opened on the appointed day in the cathedral of Pisa. There 
was an imposing attendance of 14 cardinals, the number 
being afterwards increased to 24, 4 patriarchs, 10 arch- 
bishops, 79 bishops and representatives of 116 other bishops, 
128 abbots and priors and the representatives of 200 other 
abbots. To these prelates were added the generals of the 
Dominican, Franciscan, Carmelite, and Augustinian orders, 


the grand-master of the Knights of St. John, who was ac- 
companied by 6 commanders, the general of the Teutonic 
order, 300 doctors of theology and the canon law, 109 rep- 
resentatives of cathedral and collegiate chapters, and the 
deputies of many princes, including the king of the Romans, 
Wenzil, and the kings of England, France, Poland, and 
Cyprus. A new and significant feature was the repre- 
sentation of the universities of learning, including Paris, 1 
Bologna, Oxford and Cambridge, Montpellier, Toulouse, 
Angers, Vienna, Cracow, Prag, and Cologne. Among the 
most important personages was Peter d'Ailly, though there 
is no indication in the acts of the council that he took a 
prominent public part. John Gerson seems not to have 
been present. 

The second day, the archbishop of Milan, Philargi, himself 
soon to be elected pope, preached from Judg. 20 : 7 : " Be- 
hold ye are all children of Israel. Give here your advice 
and counsel," and stated the reasons which had led to the 
summoning of the council. Guy de Maillesec, the only car- 
dinal surviving from the days prior to the schism, presided 
over the first sessions. His place was then filled by the 
patriarch of Alexandria, till the new pope was chosen. 

One of the first deliverances was a solemn profession of the 
Holy Trinity and the Catholic faith, and that every heretic 
and schismatic will share with the devil and his angels the 
burnings of eternal fire unless before the end of this life he 
make his peace with the Catholic Church. 2 

The business which took precedence of all other was the 
healing of the schism, the causa unionis, as it was called, and 
disposition was first made of the rival popes. A formal trial 
was instituted, which was opened by two cardinals and two 
archbishops proceeding to the door of the cathedral and sol- 
emnly calling Gregory and Benedict by name and summoning 
them to appear and answer for themselves. The formality 

1 Schwab, p. 228 sq.. The address which Gereon is said to have delivered 
and which Mansi includes in the acts of the council was a rhetorical com- 
position and never delivered at Pisa. Schwab, p. 243. 

a Mansi, XXVII. 368. 

140 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

was gone through three times, on three successive days, and 
the offenders were given till April 15 to appear. 

By a series of declarations the synod then justified its exist- 
ence, and at the eighth session declared itself to be " a general 
council representing the whole universal Catholic Church and 
lawfully and reasonably called together." 1 It thought along 
the lines marked out by D'Ailly and Gerson and the other 
writers who had pronounced the unity of the Church to con- 
sist in oneness with her divine Head and declared that the 
Church, by virtue of the power residing in herself, has the 
right, in response to a divine call, to summon a council. 
The primitive Church had called synods, and James, not 
Peter, had presided at Jerusalem. 

D'Ailly, in making definite announcement of his views at 
a synod, meeting at Aix, Jan. 1, 1409, had said that the 
Church's unity depends upon the unity of her head, Christ. 
" Christ's mystical body gets its authority from its divine head 
to meet in a general council through representatives, for it 
is written, " where two or three are gathered together in my 
name, there am I in the midst of them." The words are not 
"in Peter's name," or "in Paul's name," but "in my name." 
And when the faithful assemble to secure the welfare of the 
Church, there Christ is in their midst. 

Gerson wrote his most famous tract bearing on the schism 
and the Church's right to remove a pope De auferililitate 
papcB db ecclesia while the council of Pisa was in session. 2 In 
this elaborate treatment he said that, in the strict sense, Christ 
is the Church's only bridegroom. The marriage between the 
pope and the Church may be dissolved, for such a spiritual 
marriage is not a sacrament. The pope may choose to separate 
himself from the Church and resign. The Church has a simi- 
lar right to separate itself from the pope by removing him. 
All Church officers are appointed for the Church's welfare and, 
when the pope impedes its welfare, it may remove him. It is 
bound to defend itself. This it may do through a general 
council, meeting by general consent and without papal ap- 
pointment. Such a council depends immediately upon Christ 

1 Manfli, XXVII. 866. * See Schwab, p. 260 sqq. 


for its authority. The pope may be deposed for heresy or 
schism. He might be deposed even where he had no personal 
guilt, as in case he should be taken prisoner by the Saracens, 
and witnesses should testify he was dead. Another pope 
would then be chosen and, if the reports of the death of the 
former pope were proved false, and he be released from cap- 
tivity, he or the other pope would have to be removed, for the 
Church cannot have more than one pontiff. 

Immediately after Easter, Charles Malatesta appeared in 
the council to advocate Gregory's cause. A commission, ap- 
pointed by the cardinals, presented forty reasons to show that 
an agreement between the synod and the Roman pontiff was 
out of the question. Gregory must either appear at Pisa in 
person and abdicate, or present his resignation to a commis- 
sion which the synod would appoint and send to Rimini. 

Gregory's case was also represented by the rival king of the 
Romans, Ruprecht, 1 through a special embassy made up of the 
archbishop of Riga, the bishops of Worms and Verden, and 
other commissioners. It presented twenty-four reasons for 
denying the council's jurisdiction. The paper was read by 
the bishop of Verden at the close of a sermon preached to the 
assembled councillors on the admirable text, " Peace be unto 
you." The most catching of the reasons was that, if the 
cardinals questioned the legitimacy of Gregory's pontifi- 
cate, what ground had they for not questioning the valid- 
ity of their own authority, appointed as they had been by 
Gregory or Benedict. 

In a document of thirty-eight articles, read April 24, the 
council presented detailed specifications against the two 
popes, charging them both with having made and broken 
solemn promises to resign. 

The argument was conducted by Peter de Anchorano, pro- 
fessor of both laws in Bologna, and by others. Peter argued 
that, by fostering the schism, Gregory and his rival had for- 
feited jurisdiction, and the duty of calling a representative 
council of Christendom devolved on the college of cardinals. 

1 The electors deposed Wenzil in 1400 for incompetency, and elected Ru- 
precht of the Palatinate. 

142 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

In certain cases the cardinals are left no option whether they 
shall act or not, as when a pope is insane or falls into heresy 
or refuses to summon a council at a time when orthodox doc- 
trine is at stake. The temporal power has the right to expel 
a pope who acts illegally. 

In an address on Hosea 1 : 11, " and the children of Judah 
and the children of Israel shall be gathered together and shall 
appoint themselves one head," Peter Plaoul, of the University 
of Paris, clearly placed the council above the pope, an opinion 
which had the support of his own university as well as the sup- 
port of the universities of Toulouse, Angers, and Orleans, 
The learned canonist, Zabarella, afterwards appointed car- 
dinal, took the same ground. 

The trial was carried on with all decorum and, at the end 
of two months, on June 5, sentence was pronounced, declaring 
both popes " notorious schismatics, promoters of schism, and 
notorious heretics, errant from the faith, and guilty of the no- 
torious and enormous crimes of perjury and violated oaths." l 

Deputies arriving from Perpignan a week later, June 14, 
were hooted by the council when the archbishop of Tarragona, 
one of their number, declared them to be " the representa- 
tives of the venerable pope, Benedict XIII." Benedict had 
a short time before shown his defiance of the Pisan fathers by 
adding twelve members to his cabinet. When the deputies 
announced their intention of waiting upon Gregory, and 
asked for a letter of safe conduct, Balthazar Cossa, afterwards 
John XXIII., the master of Bologna, is said to have declared, 
44 Whether they come with a letter or without it, he would 
burn them all if he could lay his hands upon them." 

The rival popes being disposed of, it remained for the coun- 
cil to proceed to a new election, and it was agreed to leave the 
matter to the cardinals, who met in the archiepiscopal palace 
of Pisa, June 26, and chose the archbishop of Milan, Philargi, 
who took the name of Alexander V. He was about seventy, 

1 JEforum utrumgue fuisse et esse notorios schismaticos et antiqut schismatis 
nutritores . . . necnon notorios hasreticos et a fide devios, notoriUque crimi- 
nibu$ enormibus perjurii* et violations voti irretitos, etc., Mansi, XXVI. 
1147, 1225 sq. Hefele, VI. 1025 sq., also gives the judgment in full. 


a member of the Franciscan order, and had received the red 
hat from Innocent VII. He was a Cretan by birth, and the first 
Greek to wear the tiara since John VI I. , in 705. He had never 
known his father or mother and, rescued from poverty by the 
Minorites, he was taken to Italy to be educated, and later sent 
to Oxford. After his election as pope, he is reported to have 
said, " as a bishop I was rich, as a cardinal poor, and as pope 
I am a beggar again." l 

In the meantime Gregory's side council at Cividale, near 
Aquileja, was running its course. There was scarcely an at- 
tendant at the first session. Later, Ruprecht and king Lad- 
islaus were represented by deputies. The assumption of the 
body was out of all proportion to its size. It pronounced the 
pontiffs of the Roman line the legitimate rulers of Christen- 
dom, and appointed nuncios to all the kingdoms. However, 
not unmindful of his former professions, Gregory anew ex- 
pressed his readiness to resign if his rivals, Peter of Luna and 
Peter of Candia (Crete), would do the same. Venice had de- 
clared for Alexander, and Gregory, obliged to flee in the dis- 
guise of a merchant, found refuge in the ships of Ladislaus. 

Benedict's council met in Perpignan six months before, No- 
vember, 1408. One hundred and twenty prelates were in 
attendance, most of them from Spain. The council adjourned 
March 26, 1409, after appointing a delegation of seven to pro- 
ceed to Pisa and negotiate for the healing of the schism. 

After Alexander's election, the members lost interest in the 
synod and began to withdraw from Pisa, and it was found im- 
possible to keep the promise made by the cardinals that there 
should be no adjournment till measures had been taken to 
reform the Church " in head and members." Commissions 
were appointed to consider reforms, and Alexander prorogued 
the body, Aug. 7, 1409, after appointing another council for 
April 12, 1412.2 

1 Nieheim, p. 320 sqq., gives an account of Alexander's early life. 

9 Creighton is unduly severe upon Alexander and the council for adjourn- 
ing, without carrying out the promise of reform. Hefele, VI. 1042, treats the 
matter with fairness, and shows the difficulty involved in a disciplinary re- 
form where the evils were of such long standing. 

144 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

At the opening of the Pisan synod there were two popes ; at 
its close, three. Scotland and Spain still held to Benedict, and 
Naples and parts of Central Europe continued to acknowledge 
the obedience of Gregory. The greater part of Christendom, 
however, was bound to the support of Alexander. This 
pontiff lacked the strength needed for the emergency, and he 
aroused the opposition of the University of Paris by extending 
the rights of the Mendicant orders to hear confessions. 1 He 
died at Bologna, May 3, 1410, without having entered the 
papal city. Rumor went that Balthazar Cossa, who was about 
to be elected his successor, had poison administered to him. 

As a rule, modern Catholic historians are inclined to belittle 
the Pisan synod, and there is an almost general agreement 
among them that it lacked oecumenical character. Without 
pronouncing a final decision on the question, Bellarmin re- 
garded Alexander V. as legitimate pope. Gerson and other 
great contemporaries treated it as oecumenical, as did also 
Bossuet and other Gallican historians two centuries later. 
Modern Catholic historians treat the claims of Gregory XII. 
as not affected by a council which was itself illegitimate and 
a high-handed revolt against canon law. 2 

But whether the name cecumencial be given or be withheld 
matters little, in view of the general judgment which the 
summons and sitting of the council call forth. It was a des- 
perate measure adopted to suit an emergency, but it was also 
the product of a new freedom of ecclesiastical thought, and 

1 The number of ecclesiastical gifts made by Alexander in his brief pon- 
tificate was large, and Nieheim pithily says that when the waters are confused, 
then is the time to fish. 

8 Pastor, I. 192, speaks of the unholy Pisan synod segenslose Pisaner 
Synode. All ultramontane historians disparage it, and Hergenrttther-Kirsch 
uses a tone of irony in describing its call and proceedings. They do not exon- 
erate Gregory from having broken his solemn promise, but they treat the 
council as wholly illegitimate, either because it was not called by a pope or be- 
cause it had not the universal support of the Catholic nations. Hefele, I. 67 
sqq., denies to it the character of an oecumenical synod, but places it in a 
category by itself. Pastor opens his treatment with a discourse on the 
primacy of the papacy, dating from Peter, and the sole right of the pope to call 
a council. The cardinals who called it usurped an authority which did not 
belong to them. 

16. THE COUNCIL OP CONSTANCE. 1414-1418. 145 

so far a good omen of a better age. The Pisan synod demon- 
strated that the Church remained virtually a unit in spite of 
the double pontifical administration. It branded by their 
right names the specious manoeuvres of Gregory and Peter de 
Luna. It brought together the foremost thinkers and literary 
interests of Europe and furnished a platform of free discussion. 
Not its least service was in preparing the way for the impos- 
ing council which convened in Constance five years later. 

16. The Council of Constance. 1414-1418. 

At Alexander's death, seventeen cardinals met in Bologna 
and elected Balthazar Cossa, who took the name of John 
XXIII. He was of noble Neapolitan lineage, began his 
career as a soldier and perhaps as a corsair, 1 was graduated 
in both laws at Bologna and was made cardinal by Boniface 
IX. He joined in the call of the council of Pisa. A man of 
ability, he was destitute of every moral virtue, and capable of 
every vice. 

Leaning for support upon Louis of Anjou, John gained 
entrance to Rome. In the battle of Rocca Secca, May 14, 
1411, Louis defeated the troops of Ladislaus. The captured 
battle-flags were sent to Rome, hung up in St. Peter's, then 
torn down in the sight of the people, and dragged in the dust 
in the triumphant procession through the streets of the city, 
in which John participated. Ladislaus speedily recovered 
from his defeat, and John, with his usual faithlessness, made 
terms with Ladislaus, recognizing him as king, while Ladislaus, 
on his part, renounced his allegiance to Gregory XII. That 
pontiff was ordered to quit Neapolitan territory, and embark- 
ing in Venetian vessels at Gaeta, fled to Dalmatia, and finally 
took refuge with Charles Malatesta of Rimini, his last polit- 
ical ally. 

The Council of Constance, the second of the Reformatory 
councils, was called together by the joint act of Pope John 
XXIII. and Sigisr lund, king of the Romans. It was not till 
he was reminded by the University of Paris that John paid 

i Nieheim, 'n Life of John, in Van der Hardt, II. 339. 

146 THE MIDDLE AolB. A.D. 1294-1617. 

heed to the action of the Council of Pisa and called a council 
to meet at Rome, April, 1412. Its sessions were scantily 
attended, and scarcely a trace of it is left. 1 After ordering 
Wyclif s writings burnt, it adjourned Feb. 10, 1413. John had 
strengthened the college of cardinals by adding fourteen to its 
number, among them men of the first rank, as D'Ailly, Za- 
barella of Florence, Robert Hallum, bishop of Salisbury, and 
Fillastre, dean of Rheims. 

Ladislaus, weary of his treaty with John and ambitious to 
create a unified Latin kingdom, took Rome, 1413, giving the 
city over to sack. The king rode into the Lateran and looked 
down from his horse on the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul, 
which he ordered the canons to display. The very churches 
were robbed, and soldiers and their courtesans drank wine 
out of the sacred chalices. Ladislaus left Rome, struck with 
a vicious disease, rumored to be due to poison administered 
by an apothecary's daughter of Perugia, and died at Naples, 
August, 1414. He had been one of the most prominent 
figures in Europe for a quarter of a century and the chief 
supporter of the Roman line of pontiffs. 

Driven from Rome, John was thrown into the hands of 
Sigismund, who was then in Lombardy. This prince, the 
grandson of the blind king, John, who was killed at Crecy, 
had come to the throne of Hungary through marriage 
with its heiress. At Ruprecht's death he was elected king 
of the Romans, 1411. Circumstances and his own energy 
made him the most prominent sovereign of his age and the 
chief political figure in the Council of Constance. He lacked 
high aims and moral purpose, but had some taste for books, 
and spoke several languages besides his own native German. 
Many sovereigns have placed themselves above national stat- 
utes, but Sigismund went farther and, according to the story, 
placed himself above the rules of grammar. In his first address 
at the Council of Constance, so it is said, he treated the Latin 
word schisma, schism, as if it were feminine. 2 When Pris- 

1 Finke : Forschungen, p. 2 ; Acta cone., p. 108 sqq. 
3 Date operam, the king said, ut ista nefanda schisma cradicetur. See 
Wylie, p. 18. 

16. THE COUNCIL OFfcoNSTAWCfc. H14-1418. 147 

cian and other learned grammarians were quoted to him to 
show it was neuter, lie replied, " Yes ; but I ain emperor and 
above them, and can make a new grammar. " The fact that 
Sigisraund was not yet emperor when the mistake is said to 
have been made for he was not crowned till 1433 seems 
to prejudice the authenticity of the story, but it is quite likely 
that he made mistakes in Latin and that the bon-mot was 
humorously invented with reference to it. 

Pressed by the growing troubles in Bohemia over John 
Huss, Sigismund easily became an active participant in the 
measures looking towards a new council. Men distrusted 
John XXIII. The only hope of healing the schism seemed to 
rest with the future emperor. In many documents, and by 
John himself, he was addressed as " advocate and defender 
of the Church " l advocatus et defemor ecclesice. 1 

Two of John's cardinals met Sigismund at Como, Oct. 13, 
1413, and discussed the time and place of the new synod. 
John preferred an Italian city, Sigismund the small Swabian 
town of Kempten ; Strassburg, Basel, and other places were 
mentioned, but Constance, on German territory, was at last 
fixed upon. On Oct. 30 Sigismund announced the approach- 
ing council to all the prelates, princes, and doctors of Christ- 
endom, and on Dec. 9 John attached his seal to the call. 
Sigismund and John met at Lodi the last of November, 1413, 
and again at Cremona early in January, 1414, the pope being 
accompanied by thirteen cardinals. Thus the two great 
luminaries of this mundane sphere were again side by side. 2 
They ascended together the great Torazzo, close to the cathe- 
dral of Cremona, accompanied by the lord of the town, who 
afterwards regretted that he had not seized his opportunity 
and pitched them both down to the street. Not till the fol- 
lowing August was a formal announcement of the impending 

1 See Finke, Forschungen, p. 28. Sigismund gives himself the same title. 
See his letter to Gregory, Mansi, XXVIII. 3. 

2 Sigismund, in his letter to Charles VI. of France, announcing the council, 
had used the mediaeval figure of the two lights, duo luminaria super ter- 
rain, mains videlicet minus ut in ipsis universalis ecclesice consistere flr- 
mamentum in quibus pontificalia anctftritas et regalis potentia designantur, 
unaquas spiritualia et altera qua corporalia regerentur. Mansi, XXVIII. 4. 

148 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

council sent to Gregory XII., who recognized Sigismund as 
king of the Romans. 1 Gregory complained to Archbishop 
Andrew of Spalato, bearer of the notice, of the lateness of the 
invitation, and that he had not been consulted in regard to 
the council. Sigismund promised that, if Gregory should be 
deposed, he would see to it that he received a good life posi- 
tion. 2 

The council, which was appointed for Nov. 1, 1414, lasted 
nearly four years, and proved to be one of the most impos- 
ing gatherings which has ever convened in Western Europe. 
It was a veritable parliament of nations, a convention of the 
leading intellects of the age, who pressed together to give 
vent to the spirit of free discussion which the Avignon scan- 
dals and the schism had developed, and to debate the most 
urgent of questions, the reunion of Christendom under one 
undisputed head." 8 

Following the advice of his cardinals, John, who set his face 
reluctantly towards the North, reached Constance Oct. 28, 
1414. The city then contained 5500 people, and the beauty 
of its location, its fields, and its vineyards, were praised by 
Nieheim and other contemporaries. They also spoke of the 
salubriousness of the air and the justice of the municipal laws 
for strangers. It seemed to be as a field which the Lord had 
blessed. 4 As John approached Constance, coming byway of 
the Tirol, he is said to have exclaimed, " Ha, this is the place 
where foxes are trapped." He entered the town in great 
style, accompanied by nine cardinals and sixteen hundred 
mounted horsemen. He rode a white horse, its back covered 
with a red rug. Its bridles were held by the count of Mont- 
ferrat and an Orsini of Rome. The city council sent to the 

1 There is some evidence that a report was abroad in Italy that Sigismund 
intended to have all three popes put on trial at Constance, but that a gift of 
60,000 gulden from John at Lodi induced him to support that pontiff. Finke : 
Acta, p. 177 sq. 

* Sigismund's letters are given by Hardt, VL 5, 6 ; Mansi, XXVIII. 2-4. 
See Finke, Forschungen, p. 23. 

8 Funk, Kirchengesch., p. 470, calls it eine der grossartigsten Kirchenver- 
sammlungen welche die Geschichte kennt, gewissermctssen ein Kongrets des 
ganzen Abendlandes. * Hardt, II. 80S. 






16. THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE. 1414-1418. 149 

pope's lodgings four large barrels of Elsass wine, eight of 
native wine, and other wines. 1 

The first day of November, John attended a solemn mass 
at the cathedral. The council met on the 5th, with fifteen 
cardinals present. The first public session was held Nov. 
16. In all, forty-five public sessions were held, the usual 
hour of assembling being 7 in the morning. Gregory XII. 
was represented by two delegates, the titular patriarch of 
Constantinople and Cardinal John Dominici of Ragusa, a 
man of great sagacity and excellent spirit. 

The convention did not get into full swing until the arrival 
of Sigismund on Christmas Eve, fresh from his coronation, 
which occurred at Aachen, Nov. 8, and accompanied by his 
queen, Barbara, and a brilliant suite. After warming them- 
selves, the imperial party proceeded to the cathedral and, at 
cock-crowing Christmas morning, were received by the pope. 
Services were held lasting eight, or, according to another 
authority, eleven hours without interruption. Sigismund, 
wearing his crown and a dalmatic, exercised the functions 
of deacon and read the Gospel, and the pope conferred 
upon him a sword, bidding him use it to protect the 

Constance had become the most conspicuous locality in 
Europe. It attracted people of every rank, from the king to 
the beggar. A scene of the kind on so great a scale had 
never been witnessed in the West before. The reports of 
the number of strangers in the city vary from 50,000 to 
100,000. Bichental, the indefatigable Boswell of the council, 
himself a resident of Constance, gives an account of the ar- 
rival of every important personage, together with the number 
of his retainers. One-half of his Chronicle is a directory of 
names. He went from house to house, taking a census, and 
to the thousands he mentions by name, he adds 5000 who 

1 Richental, Chronik, pp. 25-28, gives a graphic description of John's entry 
into the city. This writer, who was a citizen of Constance, the office he filled 
being unknown, had unusual opportunities for observing what was going 
on and getting the official documents. He gives copies of several of John's 
bulls, and the most detailed accounts of some of the proceedings at which he 
was present. See p. 129. 

150 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

rode in and out of the town every day. He states that 80,000 
witnessed the coronation of Martin V. The lodgings of the 
more distinguished personages were marked with their coats 
of arms. Bakers, beadles, grooms, scribes, goldsmiths, mer- 
chantmen of every sort, even to traffickers from the Orient, 
flocked together to serve the dukes and prelates and the 
learned university masters and doctors. There were in at- 
tendance on the council, 33 cardinals, 5 patriarchs, 47 arch- 
bishops, 145 bishops, 93 titular bishops, 217 doctors of 
theology, 361 doctors in both laws, 171 doctors of medicine, 
besides a great number of masters of arts from the 37 univer- 
sities represented, 83 kings and princes represented by envoys, 
38 dukes, 173 counts, 71 barons, more than 1500 knights, 
142 writers of bulls, 1700 buglers, fiddlers, and players on 
other musical instruments. 700 women of the street prac- 
tised their trade openly or in rented houses, while the 
number of those who practised it secretly was a matter of 
conjecture. 1 There were 36,000 beds for strangers. 500 are 
said to have been drowned in the lake during the progress 
of the council. Huss wrote, " This council is a scene of foul- 
ness, for it is a common saying among the Swiss that a gener- 
ation will not suffice to cleanse Constance from the sins which 
the council has committed in this city." 2 

The English and Scotch delegation, which numbered less 
than a dozen persons, was accompanied by 700 or 800 mounted 
men, splendidly accoutred, and headed by fifers and other 
musicians, and made a great sensation by their entry into the 
city. The French delegation was marked by its university 
men and other men of learning. 8 

1 Qffene Huren in den Hurenhausern und solche, die selber Hauser gemie- 
thet hatten und in den Mallen lagen und wo sie mochten, doren waren uber 
700 und die heimlichen, die lass ich belibnen. Richental, p. '215. The numbers 
above are taken from Richental, whose account, from p. 164 to 215, is taken 
up with the lists of names. See also Van der Hardt, V. 60-53, who gives 
18,000 prelates and priests and 80,000 laymen. A later hand has attached to 
Richental's narrative the figures 72,460. 

a Workman : Letters of Huss, p. 263. 

Usk, p. 304 ; Kymer, Feeder., IX. 167; Richental, p. 34, speaks of the 
French as die Schulpfaffen und die gelehrten Leute am Frankreich. 

16. THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE. 1414-1418. 151 

The streets and surroundings presented the spectacle of a 
merry fair. There were tournaments, dances, acrobatic shows, 
processions, musical displays. But in spite of the conges- 
tion, good order seems to have been maintained. By order 
of the city council, persons were forbidden to be out after 
curfew without a light. Chains were to be stretched across 
some of the streets, and all shouting at night was forbidden. 
It is said that during the council's progress only two persons 
were punished for street brawls. A check was put upon 
extortionate rates by a strict tariff. The price of a white loaf 
was fixed at a penny, and a bed for two persons, with sheets 
and pillows, at a gulden and a half a month, the linen to be 
washed every two weeks. Fixed prices were put upon grains, 
meat, eggs, birds, and other articles of food. 1 The bankers 
present were a great number, among them the young Cosimo 
de' Medici of Florence. 

Among the notables in attendance, the pope and Sigismund 
occupied the chief place. The most inordinate praise was 
heaped upon the king. He was compared to Daniel, who 
rescued Susanna, and to David. He was fond of pleasure, 
very popular with women, always in debt and calling for 
money, but a deadly foe of heretics, so that whenever he 
roared, it was said, the Wyclifites fled. 2 There can be no 
doubt that to Sigismund were due the continuance and success 
of the council. His queen, Barbara, the daughter of a Styrian 
count, was tall and fair, but of questionable reputation, and 
her gallantries became the talk of the town. 

The next most eminent persons were Cardinals D'Ailly, 
Zabarella, Fillastre, John of Ragusa, and Hallum, bishop of 
Salisbury, who died during the session of the council, and was 

1 Richental, p. 39 sqq., gives an elaborate list of these regulations. 

2 So de Vrie, the poet-historian of the council, Hardt, 1. 193. The follow- 
ing description is from the accomplished pen of JEneas Sylvius, afterwards 
Pius II: " He was tall, with bright eyes, broad forehead, pleasantly rosy 
cheeks, and a long, thick beard. He was witty in conversation, given to wine 
and women, and thousands of love intrigues are laid to his charge. He had a 
large mind and formed many plans, but was changeable. He was prone to 
anger, but ready to forgive. He could not keep his money, but spent 
lavishly, He made more promises than he kept, and often deceived/' 

152 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

buried in Constance, the bishop of Winchester, uncle to the 
English king, and John Gerson, the chief representative of the 
University of Paris. Zabarella was the most profound author- 
ity on civil and canon law in Europe, a professor at Bologna, 
and in 1410 made bishop of Florence. He died in the midst 
of the council's proceedings, Sept. 26, 1417. Fillastre left be- 
hind him a valuable daily journal of the council's proceedings. 
D'Ailly had been for some time one of the most prominent 
figures in Europe. Hallum is frequently mentioned in the 
proceedings of the council. Among the most powerful agencies 
at work in the assemblies were the tracts thrown off at the 
time, especially those of Diedrich of Nieheim, one of the 
most influential pamphleteers of the later Middle Ages. 1 

The subjects which the council was called together to dis- 
cuss were the reunion of the Church under one pope, and 
Church reforms. 2 The action against heresy, including the 
condemnation of John Huss and Jerome of Prag, is also con- 
spicuous among the proceedings of the council, though not 
treated by contemporaries as a distinct subject. From the 
start, John lost support. A sensation was made by a tract, 
the work of an Italian, describing John's vices both as man 
and pope. John of Ragusa and Fillastre recommended the 
resignation of all three papal claimants, and this idea became 
more and more popular, and was, after some delay, adopted by 
Sigismund, and was trenchantly advocated by Nieheim, in his 
tract on the Necessity of a Reformation in the Church. 

From the very beginning great plainness of speech was used, 
so that John had good reason to be concerned for the tenure 
of his office. December 7, 1414, the cardinals passed prop- 
ositions binding him to a faithful performance of his papal 

* Finke, p. 133, calls him the " greatest journalist of the later Middle Ages." 
The tracts De modi* uniendi, De difflcultate reformations, De, necessitate 
reformations are now all ascribed to Nieheim by Finke, p. 133, who follows 
Lenz, and with whom Pastor concurs as against Erler. 

2 In hoc generali concilio agendum fuit de pace et unione perfecta ec~ 
clesice, secundo de reformation illius, Fillastre's Journal, in Finke, p. 164. 
H(KC synodus . . . pro exstirpatione prcesentis schismatis et unione ac refor- 
mattone ecclesice Dei in capite et membris is the council's own declaration, 
Mansi, XXVII. 585. 

36. THE COUNCIL OF COKSTANCE. 1414-1418. 153 

duties and abstinence from simony. D'Ailly wrote against 
the infallibility of councils, and thus furnished the ground 
for setting aside the papal election at Pisa. 

From November to January, 1415, a general disposition was 
manifested to avoid taking the initiative the noli me tangere 
policy, as it was called. 1 The ferment of thought and dis- 
cusssion became more and more active, until the first notable 
principle was laid down early in February, 1415; namely, the 
rule requiring the vote to be by nations. The purpose was 
to overcome the vote of the eighty Italian bishops and doctors 
who were committed to John's cause. The action was taken 
in the face of John's opposition, and followed the precedent 
set by the University of Paris in the government of its 
affairs. By this rule, which no council before or since has 
followed, except the little Council of Siena, 1423, England, 
France, Italy, and Germany had each a single vote in the 
affairs of the council. In 1417, when Aragon, Castile, and 
Scotland gave in their submission to the council, a fifth vote 
was accorded to Spain. England had the smallest represen- 
tation. In the German nation were included Scandinavia, 
Poland, and Hungary. The request of the cardinals to have 
accorded to them a distinct vote as a body was denied. They 
met with the several nations to which they belonged, and 
were limited to the same rights enjoyed by other individuals. 
This rule seems to have been pressed from the first with great 
energy by the English, led by Robert of Salisbury. Strange 
to say, there is no record that this mode of voting was adopted 
by any formal conciliar decree. 2 

The nations met each under its own president in separate 
places, the English and Germans sitting in different rooms 
in the convent of the Grey Friars. The vote of the majority 
of the nations carried in the public sessions of the council. 
The right to vote in the nations was extended so as to include 
the doctors of both kinds and princes. D'Ailly advocated 
this course, and Fillastre argued in favor of including rectors 

1 Apud aliquos erat morbus " noli me tangere," Fillastre's Journal, p. 164. 
a See Finke, Forschungen, p. 31. Richental, pp. 50-53, gives a quaint ac- 
count of the territorial possessions of the five nations. 

154 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

and even clergymen of the lowest rank. Why, reasoned 
D'Ailly, should a titular bishop have an equal voice with a 
bishop ruling over an extensive see, say the archbishopic of 
Mainz, and why should a doctor be denied all right to vote 
who has given up his time and thought to the questions 
under discussion ? And why, argued Fillastre, should an 
abbot, having control over only ten monks, have a vote, when 
a rector with a cure of a thousand or ten thousand souls is 
excluded ? An ignorant king or prelate he called a " crowned 
ass." Doctors were on hand for the very purpose of clear- 
ing up ignorance. 

When the Italian tract appeared, which teemed with 
charges against John, matters were brought to a crisis. Then 
it became evident that the scheme calling for the removal of 
all three popes would go through, and John, to avoid a worse 
fate, agreed to resign, making the condition that Gregory XII. 
and Benedict should also resign. The formal announcement, 
which was read at the second session, March 2, 1415, ran : " I, 
John XXIII., pope, promise, agree, and obligate myself, vow 
and swear before God, the Church, and this holy council, of 
my own free will and spontaneously, to give peace to the 
Church by abdication, provided the pretenders, Benedict and 
Gregory, do the same." 1 At the words "vow and swear," 
John rose from his seat and knelt down at the altar, remain- 
ing on his knees till he finished the reading. The reading 
being over, Sigismund removed his crown, bent before John, 
and kissed his feet. Five days after, John issued a bull con- 
firming his oath. 

Constance was wild with joy. The bells rang out the glad 
news. In the cathedral, joy expressed itself in tears. The 
spontaneity of John's self-deposition may be questioned, in 
view of the feeling which prevailed among the councillors and 
the report that he had made an offer to cede the papacy for 
30,000 gulden. 2 

A most annoying, though ridiculous, turn was now given 
to affairs by John's flight from Constance, March 20. Ru- 

1 Hardt, II. 240, also IV. 44 ; Mansi, XXVII. 668. Also Richental, p. 66. 

2 According to a MS. found at Vienna by Finke, Fonchunyen, p. 148. 

16. THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE. 1414-1418. 155 

mors had been whispered about that he was contemplating 
such a move. He talked of transferring the council to Rizza, 
and complained of the unhealthiness of the air of Constance. 
He, however, made the solemn declaration that he would not 
leave the town before the dissolution of the council. To be 
on the safe side, Sigismund gave orders for the gates to be 
kept closed and the lake watched. But John had practised 
dark arts before, and, unmindful of his oath, escaped at 
high noon on a " little horse," in the disguise of a groom, 
wrapped in a gray cloak, wearing a gray cap, and having a 
crossbow tied to his saddle. 1 The flight was made while the 
gay festivities of a tournament, instituted by Frederick, duke 
of Austria, were going on, and with two attendants. The 
pope continued his course without rest till he reached Schaff- 
hausen. This place belonged to the duke, who was in the 
secret, and on whom John had conferred the office of com- 
mander of the papal troops, with a yearly grant of 6000 gulden. 
John's act was an act of desperation. He wrote back to the 
council, giving as the reason of his flight that he had been in 
fear of Sigismund, and that his freedom of action had been 
restricted by the king. 2 

So great was the panic produced by the pope's flight that 
the council would probably have been brought to a sudden 
close by a general scattering of its members, had it not been 
for Sigismund's prompt action. Cardinals and envoys de- 
spatched by the king and council made haste to stop the 
fleeing pope, who continued on to Laufenburg, Freiburg, and 
Breisach. John wrote to Sigismund, expressing his regard 
for him, but with the same pen he was addressing communi- 
cations to the University of Paris and the duke of Orleans, 
seeking to awaken sympathy for his cause by playing upon 
the national feelings of the French. He attempted to make 
it appear that the French delegation had been disparaged 
when the council proceeded to business before the arrival 
of the twenty-two deputies of the University. France and 

1 Richental, pp. 62-72, gives a vivid account of John's flight and seizure. 

2 Fillastre ; Finke, Forschungen, p. 169, j>apa dicebat quod pro timore regis 
Romanorum rccesserat. 

156 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

Italy, with two hundred prelates, had each only a single vote, 
while England, with only three prelates, had a vote. God, 
he affirmed, dealt with individuals and not with nations. He 
also raised the objection that married laymen had votes at the 
side of prelates, and John Huss had not been put on trial, 
though he had been condemned by the University of Paris. 

To the envoys who found John at Breisach, April 23, he 
gave his promise to return with them to Constance the next 
morning ; but with his usual duplicity, he attempted to es- 
cape during the night, and was let down from the castle by 
a ladder, disguised as a peasant. He was soon seized, and 
ultimately handed over by Sigismund to Louis III., of the 
Palatinate, for safe-keeping. 

In the meantime the council forbade any of the delegates 
to leave Constance before the end of the proceedings, on pain 
of excommunication and the loss of dignities. Its fourth and 
fifth sessions, beginning April 6, 1415, mark an epoch in the 
history of ecclesiastical statement. The council declared 
that, being assembled legitimately in the Holy Spirit, it was 
an oecumenical council and representing the whole Church, 
had its authority immediately from Christ, and that to it the 
pope and persons of every grade owed obedience in things 
pertaining to the faith and to the reformation of the Church 
in head and members. It was superior to all other eccle- 
siastical tribunals. 1 This declaration, stated with more pre- 
cision than the one of Pisa, meant a vast departure from the 
papal theory of Innocent III. and Boniface VIII. 

Gerson, urging this position in his sermon before the 
council, March 23, 1415, said 2 the gates of hell had prevailed 
against popes, but not against the Church. Joseph was set 
to guard his master's wife, not to debauch her, and when the 

1 Hardt, IV. 89 sq., and Mansi, XXVII. 686-690. The deliverance runs : 
hcec sancta synodus Constantiensis primo declarat ut ipsa synodus in S. 
Spirits legitime congregate generate concilium faciens, cedes, catholicam 
militantem representans, potestatem a Christo immediate habeat, cut quilibet 
cujusmodi status vel dignitatis, etiamai papalis exist at, obedire tenetur in his 
qua pertinent ad fldem et exstirpationem prcesentis schismatis et reforma- 
tionem eccles. in capite et membris. 

2 Hardt, II. 266-273 ; Du Pin, II. 201 sqq. 

16. THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE. 1414-1418. 157 

pope turned aside from his duty, the Church had authority 
to punish him. A council has the right by reason of the 
vivifying power of the Holy Spirit to prolong itself, and 
may, under certain conditions, assemble without call of pope 
or his consent. 

The conciliar declarations reaffirmed the principle laid 
down by Nieheim on the eve of the council in the tract en- 
titled the Union of the Church and its Reformation, and by 
other writers. 1 The Church, Nieheim affirmed, whose head is 
Christ, cannot err, but the Church as a commonwealth, 
respublica, controlled by pope and hierarchy, may err. 
And as a prince who does not seek the good of his subjects 
may be deposed, so may the pope, who is called to preside 
over the whole Church. . . . The pope is born of man, born 
in sin clay of clay limus de limo. A few days ago the 
son of a rustic, and now raised to the papal throne, he is not 
become an impeccable angel. It is not his office that makes 
him holy, but the grace of God. He is not infallible ; and 
as Christ, who was without sin, was subject to a tribunal, so 
is the pope. It is absurd to say that a mere man has power 
in heaven and on earth to bind and loose from sin. For he 
may be a simoniac, a liar, a fornicator, proud, and worse 
than the devil pejor quam diabolus. As for a council, the 
pope is under obligation to submit to it and, if necessary, 
to resign for the common good utilitatem communem. A 
general council may be called by the prelates and temporal 
rulers, and is superior to the pope. It may elect, limit, and 
depose a pope and from its decision there is no appeal 
potest papam eligere, privare et deponere. A tali concilia nullus 
potest appellare. Its canons are immutable, except as they 
may be set aside by another oecumenical council. 

These views were revolutionary, and show that Marsiglius 
of Padua, and other tractarians of the fourteenth century, 
had not spoken in vain. 

Having affirmed its superiority over the pope, the council pro- 

1 Hardt, vol. I., where it occupies 176 pp. Du Pin, II., 162-201. This tract, 
formerly ascribed to Gerson, Leuz and Finke give reason for regarding as the 
work of Nieheim. 

158 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

ceeded to try John XXIII. on seventy charges, which included 
almost every crime known to man. He had been unchaste 
from his youth, had been given to lying, was disobedient to 
his parents. He was guilty of simony, bought his way to 
the cardinalate, sold the same benefices over and over again, 
sold them to children, disposed of the head of John the Bap- 
tist, belonging to the nuns of St. Sylvester, Rome, to Flor- 
ence, for 50,000 ducats, made merchandise of spurious 
bulls, committed adultery with his brother's wife, violated 
nuns and other virgins, was guilty of sodomy and other 
nameless vices. 1 As for doctrine, he had often denied the 
future life. 

When John received the notice of his deposition, which 
was pronounced May 29, 1415, he removed the papal cross 
from his room and declared he regretted ever having been 
elected pope. He was taken to Gottlieben, a castle belong- 
ing to the bishop of Constance, and then removed to the 
castle at Heidelberg, where two chaplains and two nobles 
were assigned to serve him. From Heidelberg the count 
Palatine transferred him to Mannheim, and finally released 
him on the payment of 30,000 gulden. John submitted to 
his successor, Martin V., and in 1419 was appointed cardinal 
bishop of Tusculum, but survived the appointment only six 
months. John's accomplice, Frederick of Austria, was de- 
prived of his lands, and was known as Frederick of the 
empty purse Friedrich mit der leer en Tasche. A splendid 
monument was erected to John in the baptistery in Florence 
by Cosimo de' Medici, who had managed the pope's money 



While John's case was being decided, the trial of John Huss 
was under way. The proceedings and the tragedy of Huss' 
death are related in another place. 

John XXIII. was out of the way. Two popes remained, 

i Hardt, IV. 196-208 ; Mansi, XXVIII. 662-673,715. Adam of Usk, p. 806 f 
says, Our pope, John XXIII., false to his promises of union, and otherwise 
guilty of perjuries and murders, adulteries, simonies, heresy, and other 
excesses, and for that he twice fled in secret, and cowardly, in vile raiment, 
by way of disguise, was delivered to perpetual imprisonment by the council. 

16. THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE. 1414-1418. 159 

Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII., who were facetiously called 
in tracts and addresses Errorius^ a play on Gregory's patro- 
nymic, Angelo Correr, 1 and Maledictua. Gregory promptly re- 
signed, thus respecting his promise made to the council to resign, 
provided John and Benedict should be set aside. He also had 
promised to recognize the council, provided the emperor should 
preside. The resignation was announced at the fourteenth 
session, July 4, 1415, by Charles Malatesta and John of Ragusa, 
representing the Roman pontiff. Gregory's bull, dated May 
15, 1414, which was publicly read, " convoked and authorized 
the general council so far as Balthazar Cossa, John XXIII., is 
not present and does not preside." The words of resignation 
ran, " I resign, in the name of the Lord, the papacy, and all its 
rights and title and all the privileges conferred upon it by 
the Lord Jesus Christ in this sacred synod and universal 
council representing the holy Roman and universal Church. 2 
Gregory's cardinals now took their seats, and Gregory him- 
self was appointed cardinal-bishop of Porto and papal legate 
of Ancona. He died at Recanati, near Ancona, Oct. 18, 1417. 
Much condemnation as Angelo Correr deserves for having 
temporized about renouncing the papacy, posterity has not 
withheld from him respect for his honorable dealing at the 
close of his career. The high standing of his cardinal, John 
of Ragusa, did much to make men forget Gregory's faults. 

Peter de Luna was of a different mind. Every effort was 
made to bring him into accord with the mind of the council- 
men in the Swiss city, but in vain. In order to bring all 
the influence possible to bear upon him, Sigismund, at the 
council's instance, started on the journey to see the last of 
the Avignon popes face to face. The council, at its sixteenth 
session, July 11, 1415, appointed doctors to accompany the 
king, and eight days afterwards he broke away from Con- 
stance, accompanied by a troop of 4000 men on horse. 

Sigismund and Benedict met at Narbonne, Aug. 15, and 
at Perpignan, the negotiations lasting till December. The 

1 This name is given to Gregory constantly by Nieheim in his De schismate. 

2 The document is given in Hardt, IV. 360. See, for the various documents, 
Hardt, IV. 192 sq., 846-381 ; Mansi, XXVII. 733-745. 

160 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

decree of deposition pronounced at Pisa, and France's with- 
drawal of allegiance, had not broken the spirit of the old 
man. His dogged tenacity was worthy of a better cause. 1 
Among the propositions the pope had the temerity to make 
was that he would resign provided that he, as the only sur- 
viving cardinal from the times before the schism, should have 
liberty to follow his abdication by himself electing the new 
pontiff. Who knows but that one who was so thoroughly 
assured of his own infallibility would have chosen himself. 
Benedict persisted in calling the Council of Constance the 
" congregation," or assembly. On Nov. 14 he fled to Peii- 
iscola, a rocky promontory near Valencia, again condemned 
the Swiss synod, and summoned a legitimate one to meet in 
his isolated Spanish retreat. His own cardinals were weary 
of the conflict, and Dec. 13, 1415, declared him deposed. 
His long-time supporter, Vincent Ferrer, called him a per- 
jurer. The following month the kingdom of Aragon, which 
had been Benedict's chief support, withdrew from his obedi- 
ence and was followed by Castile and Scotland. 

Peter de Luna was now as thoroughly isolated as any mortal 
could well be. The council demanded his unconditional ab- 
dication, and was strengthened by the admission of his old 
supporters, the Spanish delegates. At the thirty-seventh ses- 
sion, 1417, he was deposed. By Sigismund's command the 
decision was announced on the streets of Constance by trum- 
peters. But the indomitable Spaniard continued to defy the 
synod's sentence till his death, nine years later, and from the 
lonely citadel of Peniscola to sit as sovereign of Christendom. 
Cardinal Hergenrother concludes his description of these 
events by saying that Benedict " was a pope without a church 
and a shepherd without sheep. This very fact proves the 
emptiness of his claims." Benedict died, 1423, 2 leaving be- 
hind him four cardinals. Three of these elected the canon, 
Gil Sanduz de Munoz of Barcelona, who took the name of 
Clement VIII. Five years later Gil resigned, and was ap- 

1 Pastor, Hefele, and Hergenrbther call it stubbornness, Hartndckigkeit. 
Dttllinger is more favorable, and does not withhold his admiration from Peter. 
1 Valois, IV. 450-464, gives strong reasons for this date as against 1424. 

16. THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE. 1414-1418. 161 

pointed by Martin V. bishop of Majorca, on which island he 
was a pope with insular jurisdiction. 1 The fourth cardinal, 
Jean Carrier, elected himself pope, and took the name of 
Benedict XIV. He died in prison, 1433. 

It remained for the council to terminate the schism of years 
by electing a new pontiff and to proceed to the discussions of 
Church reforms. At the fortieth session, Oct. 30, 1417, it 
was decided to postpone the second item until after the elec- 
tion of the new pope. In fixing this order of business, the 
cardinals had a large influence. There was a time in the 
history of the council when they were disparaged. Tracts 
were written against them, and the king at one time, so it 
was rumored, proposed to seize them all. 2 But that time 
was past; they had kept united, and their influence had 
steadily grown. 

The papal vacancy was filled, Nov. 11, 1417, by the elec- 
tion of Cardinal Oddo Colonna, who took the name of Mar- 
tin V. The election was consummated in the Kaufhaus, 
the central commercial building of Constance, which is still 
standing. Fifty-three electors participated, 6 deputies from 
each of the 5 nations, and 23 cardinals. The building was 
walled up with boards and divided into cells for the electors. 
Entrance was had by a single door, and the three keys were 
given, one to the king, one to the chapter of Constance, and 
one to the council. When it became apparent that an election 
was likely to be greatly delayed, the Germans determined to 
join the Italians in voting for an Italian to avoid suspicion 
that advantage was taken of the synod's location on Ger- 
man soil. The Germans then secured the co-operation of the 
English, and finally the French and Spaniards also yielded. 8 
The pope-elect was thus the creature of the council. 

1 Mansi, XXVIII. 1117 sqq., gives Clement's letter of abdication. For an 
account of Benedict's two successors and their election, see Valois, IV. 455-478. 

2 Fillastre's Journal, p. 224. For the tracts hostile to the cardinals, see 
Finke, Forschungen, p. 81 sq. 

8 Richental, p. 116 sqq., gives a detailed account of the walling up of the 
Kaufhaus and the election, and of the ceremonies attending Martin's corona- 
tion. He also, p. 123, tells the pretty story that, before the electors met, 
ravens, jackdaws, and other birds of the sort gathered in great numbers on the 

162 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

The Western Church was again unified under one head. 
But for the deep-seated conviction of centuries, the office of 
the universal papacy would scarcely have survived the strain 
of the schism. 1 Oddo Colonna, the only member of his dis- 
tinguished house who has worn the tiara, was a subdeacon at 
the time of his election. Even more hastily than Photius, 
patriarch of Constantinople, was he rushed through the ordi- 
nation of deacon, Nov. 12, of priest, Nov. 13, and bishop, 
Nov. 14. He was consecrated pope a week later, Nov. 21, 
Sigismund kissing his toe. In the procession, the bridles 
of Martin's horse were held by Sigismund and Frederick 
the Hohenzollern, lately created margrave of Branden- 
burg. The margrave had paid Sigismund 250,000 marks as 
the price of his elevation, a sum which the king used to 
defray the expenses of his visit to Benedict. 

Martin at once assumed the presidency of the council which 
since John's flight had been filled by Cardinal Viviers. 
Measures of reform were now the order of the day and 
some headway was made. The papal right of granting in- 
dulgences was curtailed. The college of cardinals was limited 
to 24, with the stipulation that the different parts of the 
church should have a proportionate representation, that no 
monastic order should have more than a single member in 
the college, and that no cardinal's brother or nephew should 
be raised to the curia so long as the cardinal was living. 
Schedules and programmes enough were made, but the ques- 
tion of reform involved abuses of such long standing and so 
deeply intrenched that it was found impossible to reconcile 
the differences of opinion prevailing in the council and bring 
it to promptness of action. After sitting for more than three 
years, the delegates were impatient to get away. 

As a substitute for further legislation, the so-called con- 
roof of the Kaufhaus, but that as soon as Martin was elected, thousands of 
greenfinches and other little birds took their places and chattered and sang 
and hopped about as if approving what had been done. 

1 Catholic historians regard the survival of the papacy as a proof of its 
divine origin. Salembier, p. 895, says, " The history of the great Schism 
would have dealt a mortal blow to the papacy if Christ's promises had not 
made it immortal." 

16. THE COUNCIL OP CONSTANCE. 1414-1418. 163 

cordats were arranged. These agreements were intended to 
regulate the relations of the papacy and the nations one with 
the other. There were four of these distinct compacts, one 
with the French, and one with the German nations, each to be 
valid for five years, one with the English to be perpetual, dated 
July 21, 1418, and one with the Spanish nation, dated May 13, 
1418. l These concordats set forth rules for the appointment 
of the cardinals and the restriction of their number, limited 
the right of papal reservations and the collection of annates 
and direct taxes, determined what causes might be appealed to 
Rome, and took up other questions. They were the foundation 
of the system of secret or open treaties by which the papacy 
has since regulated its relations with the nations of Europe. 
Gregory VII. was the first pope to extend the system of papal 
legates, but he and his successors had dealt with nations on 
the arbitrary principle of papal supremacy and infallibility. 
The action of the Council of Constance lifted the state to 
some measure of equality with the papacy in the administra- 
tion of Church affairs. It remained for Louis XIV., 1643- 
1715, to assert more fully the Galilean theory of the authority 
of the state to manage the affairs of the Church within its ter- 
ritory, so far as matters of doctrine were not touched. The 
first decisive step in the assertion of Gallican liberties was the 
synodal action of 1407, when France withdrew from the 
obedience of Benedict XIII. By this action the chapters 
were to elect their own bishops, and the pope was restrained 
from levying taxes on their sees. Then followed the compact 
of the Council of Constance, the Pragmatic Sanction adopted 
at Bourges, 1438, and the concordat agreed upon between 
Francis I. and Leo X. at the time of the Reformation. In 
1682 the French prelates adopted four propositions, restricting 
the pope's authority to spirituals, a power which is limited 
by the decision of the Council of Constance, and by the prec- 
edents of the Gallican Church, and declaring that even in 
matters of faith the pope is not infallible. Although Louis, 

1 See Mirbt, art. Konkordat, in Herzog, X. 705 sqq. Hardt gives the con- 
cordats with Germany and England, I. 1056-1088, and France, IV. 155 sqq. 
Mansi, XXVIL 1189 sqq., 1108 sqq. 

164 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

who gave his authority to these articles, afterwards revoked 
them, they remain a platform of Gallicanism as against the 
ultramontane theory of the infallibility and supreme authority 
of the pope, and may furnish in the future the basis of a settle- 
ment of the papal question in the Catholic communion. 1 

In the deliverance known as Frequens, passed Oct. 9, 1417, 
the council decreed that a general council should meet in 
five years, then in seven years, and thereafter perpetually 
every ten years. 2 This action was prompted by Martin in 
the bull Frequent^ Oct. 9, 1417. On completing its forty- 
fifth session it was adjourned by Martin, April 22, 1418. 
The Basel-Ferrara and the Tridentine councils sat a longer 
time, as did also the Protestant Westminster Assembly, 
1643-1648. Before breaking away from Constance, the pope 
granted Sigismund a tenth for one year to reimburse him for 
the expense he had been to on account of the synod. 

The Council of Constance was the most important synod of 
the Middle Ages, and more fairly represented the sentiments 
of Western Christendom than any other council which has 
ever sat. It furnished an arena of free debate upon inter- 
ests whose importance was felt by all the nations of Western 
Europe, and which united them. It was not restricted by 
a programme prepared by a pope, as the Vatican council of 
1870 was. It had freedom and exercised it. While the 
dogma of transubstantiation enacted by the 4th Lateran, 
1215, and the dogma of papal infallibility passed by the 
Vatican council injected elements of permanent division into 
the Church, the Council of Constance unified Latin Christen- 
dom and ended the schism which had been a cause of scandal 
for forty years. The validity of its decree putting an oecu- 
menical council above the pope, after being disputed for cen- 
turies, was officially set aside by the conciliar vote of 1870. 
For Protestants the decision at Constance is an onward step 

1 See art. GMllikanismus, in Herzog, and Der Ursprung der gallikan. 
Freiheiten, in Hist. Zeitschrift, 1903, pp. 194-215. 

2 Creigbton, I. 393, after giving the proper citation from Hardt, IV. 1432, 
makes the mistake of saying that the next council was appointed for seven 
years, and the succeeding councils every five years thereafter. 

16. THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE. 1414-1418. 165 

towards a right definition of the final seat of religious 
authority. It remained for Luther, forced to the wall by 
Eck at Leipzig, and on the ground of the error committed 
by the Council of Constance, in condemning the godly man, 
John Huss, to deny the infallibility of councils and to place 
the seat of infallible authority in the Scriptures, as inter- 
preted by conscience. 

Note on the (Ecumenical Character of the Council of Constance. 

Modern Roman Catholic historians deny the oecumenical character and 
authority of the Council of Constance, except its four last, 42d-45th sessions, 
which were presided over hy Pope Martin V., or at least all of it till the mo- 
ment of Gregory XII. 's bull giving to the council his approval, that is, after 
John had fled and ceased to preside. Ilergenrother-Kirsch, II. 862, says 
that before Gregory's authorization the council was without a head, did not 
represent the Roman Church, and sat against the will of the cardinals, by 
whom he meant Gregory's cardinals. Salembier, p. 317, says, H n'est devenu 
cecumtiniqite qu'apres la trente-cinquieme session, lorsque Gregoire XII. eut 
donne sa demission, etc. Pastor, I. 198 sq., warmly advocates the same 
view, and declares that when the council in its 4th and 5th sessions announced 
its superiority over the pope, it was not yet an oecumenical gathering. 
This dogma, he says, was intended to set up a new principle which revolu- 
tionized the old Catholic doctrine of the Church. Philip Hergenrother, in 
Katholiaches Kirchenrecht, p. 344 sq., expresses the same judgment. The 
council was not a legitimate council till after Gregory's resignation. 

The wisdom of the council in securing the resignation of Gregory and de- 
posing John and Benedict is not questioned. The validity of its act in elect- 
ing Martin V., though the papal regulation limiting the right of voting to the 
cardinals was set aside, is also acknowledged on the ground that the council 
at the time of Martin's election was sitting by Gregory's sanction, and Greg- 
ory was true pope until he abdicated. 

A serious objection to the view, setting aside this action of the 4th and 
6th sessions, is offered by the formal statement made by Martin V. At the 
final meeting of the council and after its adjournment had been pronounced, 
a tumultuous discussion was precipitated over the tract concerning the affairs 
of Poland and Lithuania by the Dominican, Falkenberg, which was written 
in defence of the Teutonic Knights, and justified the killing of the Polish 
king and all his subjects. It had been the subject of discussion in the nations, 
and its heresies were declared to be so glaring that, if they remained uncon- 
demned by the council, that body would go down to posterity as defective in 
its testimony for orthodoxy. It was during the tumultuous debate, and after 
Martin had adjourned the council, that he uttered the words which, on their 
face, sanction whatever was done in council in a conciliar way. Putting an 
end to the tumult, he announced he would maintain all the decrees passed 
by the council in matters of faith in a conciliar way omnia et singula 

166 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

determinate et conclusa et decreta in materiis fidei per prcesens sacrum con- 
cilium generate Constantiense conciliariter tenere et inviolabiliter observare 
volebat et nunquam contravenire quoquomodo. Moreover, he announced that 
he sanctioned and ratified acts made in a " conciliar way and not made other- 
wise or in any other way. 1 ' Ipsaque sic conciliariter facta approbat papa 
et ratificat et non aliter nee alio modo. Funk, Martin V. und das Konzil zu 
Konstanz in Abhandlungen, I. 489 sqq., Hefele, Concilienyesch., I. 52, and 
Kupper, in Wetzer-Welte, VII. 1004 sqq., restrict the application of these 
words to the Falkenberg incident. Funk, however, by a narrow interpreta- 
tion of the words " in matters of faith," excludes the acts of the 4th and 6th 
sessions from the pope's approval. Dollinger (p. 464), contends that the ex- 
pression conciliariter, "in a conciliar way," is opposed to nationaliter, * in 
the nations." The expression is to he taken in its simple meaning, and refers 
to what was done by the council as a council. 

The only other statement made by Martin bearing upon the question 
occurs in his bull Frequens, of Feb. 22, 1418, in which he recognized the 
council as oecumenical, and declared its decrees binding which pertained to 
faith and the salvation of souls quod sacrum concilium Constant., aniver- 
salem ecclesiam representans approbavit et approbat in favorem fidei et salu- 
tem animarum, quod hoc est ab universis Christi ftdelibus approbandum et 
tenendum. Hefele and Funk show that this declaration was not meant to 
exclude matters which were not of faith, for Martin expressly approved 
other matters, such as those passed upon in the 30th session. There is no 
record that Martin at any time said anything to throw light upon his mean- 
ing in these two utterances. 

In the latter part of the fifteenth century, as Raynaldus, an. 1418, shows, 
the view came to expression that Martin expressly intended to except the 
action of the 4th and 5th sessions from his papal approval. 

Martin V.'B successor, Eugenius IV., in 144(5, thirty years after the synod, 
asserted that its decrees were to be accepted so far as they did not prejudice 
the law, dignity, and pre-eminence of the Apostolic See absquc tamen prce- 
judicio juris et dignitatis et proeeminentias Apost. sedis. The papacy had at 
that time recovered its prestige, and the supreme pontiff felt himself strong 
enough to openly reassert the superiority of the Apostolic See over oacumeni- 
cal councils. But before that time, in a bull issued Dec. 13, 1443, he for- 
mally accepted the acts of the Council of Basel, the most explicit of which 
was the reaffirmation of the acts of the Council of Constance in its 4th and 
5th sessions. 

It occurs to a Protestant that the Council of Constance would hardly have 
elected Oddo Colonna pope if he had been suspected of being opposed to the 
council's action concerning its own superiority. The council would have 
stultified itself in appointing a man to undo what it had solemnly done. And 
for him to have denied its authority would have been, as Dollinger says 
(p. 159), like a son denying his parentage. The emphasis which recent 
Catholic historians lay upon Gregory's authorization of the synod as giving 
it for the first time an oecumenical character is an easy way out of the diffi- 
culty, and this view forces the recognition of the Roman line of popes as 
the legitimate successors of St. Peter during the years of the schism. 

17. THE COUNCIL OF BASEL. 1481-1449. 167 

17. The Council of Basel. 1431-1449. 

Martin V. proved himself to be a capable and judicious 
ruler, with courage enough when the exigency arose. He 
left Constance May 16, 1418. Sigismund, who took his de- 
parture the following week, offered him as his papal residence 
Basel, Strassburg, or Frankfurt. France pressed the claims 
of Avignon, but a Colon na could think of no other city than 
Rome, and proceeding by the way of Bern, Geneva, Mantua, 
and Florence, he entered the Eternal City Sept. 28, 1420. 1 
The delay was due to the struggle being carried on for its 
possession by the forces of Joanna of Naples under Sforza, 
and the bold chieftain Braccio. 2 Martin secured the with- 
drawal of Joanna's claims by recognizing that princess as 
queen of Naples, and pacified Braccio by investing him with 
Assisi, Perugia, Jesi, and Todi. 

Rome was in a desolate condition when Martin reached it, 
the prey of robbers, its streets filled with refuse and stag- 
nant water, its bridges decayed, and many of its churches 
without roofs. Cattle and sheep were herded in the spaces 
of St. Paul's. Wolves attacked the inhabitants within the 
walls. 8 With Martin's arrival a new era was opened. This 
pope rid the city of robbers, so that persons carrying gold 
might go with safety even beyond the walls. He restored 
the Lateran, and had it floored with a new pavement. He 
repaired the porch of St. Peter's, and provided it with a new 
roof at a cost of 50,000 gold gulden. Revolutions within 
the city ceased. Martin deserves to be honored as one of 
Rome's leading benefactors. His pontificate was an era of 
peace after years of constant strife and bloodshed due to fac- 
tions within the walls and invaders from without. With 
him its mediaeval history closes, and an age of restoration 
and progress begins. The inscription on Martin's tomb in 
the Lateran, " the Felicity of his Times," temporum suorum 
expresses the debt Rome owes to him. 

1 Richental, pp. 149 sqq. 2 Infessura, p. 21. 

8 Five large wolves were killed in the Vatican gardens, Jan. 23, 1411. 
Gregorovius, VI. 018. 

168 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

Among the signs of Martin's interest in religion was his 
order securing the transfer to Rome of some of the bones of 
Monica, the mother of Augustine, and his bull canonizing 
her. On their reception, Martin made a public address in 
which he said, " Since we possess St. Augustine, what do 
we care for the shrewdness of Aristotle, the eloquence of 
Plato, the reputation of Pythagoras ? These men we do not 
need. Augustine is enough. If we want to know the truth, 
learning, and religion, where shall we find one more wise, 
learned, and holy than St. Augustine ? " 

As for the promises of Church reforms made at Constance, 
Martin paid no attention to them, and the explanation made 
by Pastor, that his time was occupied with the government 
of Rome and the improvement of the city, is not sufficient 
to exculpate him. The old abuses in the disposition and 
sale of offices continued. The pope had no intention of 
yielding up the monarchical claims of the papal office. Nor 
did he forget his relatives. One brother, Giordano, was 
made duke of Amain, and another, Lorenzo, count of Alba. 
One of his nephews, Prospero, he invested with the purple, 
1426. He also secured large tracts of territory for his 
house. 1 

The council, appointed by Martin at Constance to meet 
in Pavia, convened April, 1423, was sparsely attended, ad- 
journed on account of the plague to Siena, and, after con- 
demning the errors of Wyclif and Huss, was dissolved 
March 7, 1424. Martin and his successors feared councils, 
and it was their policy to prevent, if possible, their assem- 
bling, by all sorts of excuses and delays. Why should the 
pope place himself in a position to hear instructions and re- 
ceive commands ? However, Martin could not be altogether 
deaf to the demands of Christendom, or unmindful of his 
pledge given at Constance. Placards were posted up in 
Rome threatening him if he summoned a council. Under 
constraint and not of free will, he appointed the second 

1 Pastor, I. 227, Martin's warm admirer, passes lightly over the pope's 
nepotism with the remark that in this regard he overstepped the line of pro- 
priety er hat das Mass des Erlaubten tiberschritten. 

17. THE COUNCIL OF BASEL. 1431-1449. 169 

council, which was to meet in seven years at Basel, 1431, but 
he died the same year, before the time set for its assembling. 

Eugenius IV., the next occupant of the papal throne, 
1431-1447, a Venetian, had been made bishop of Siena by 
his maternal uncle, Gregory XII., at the age of twenty-four, 
and soon afterwards was elevated to the curia. His pontifi- 
cate was chiefly occupied with the attempt to assert the 
supremacy of the papacy against the conciliar theory. It also 
witnessed the most notable effort ever made for the union of 
the Greeks with the Western Church. 

By an agreement signed in the conclave which elevated 
Eugenius, the cardinals promised that the successful candi- 
date should advance the interests of the impending general 
council, follow the decrees of the Council of Constance in 
appointing cardinals, consult the sacred college in matters 
of papal administration, and introduce Church reforms. 
Such a compact had been signed by the conclave which 
elected Innocent VI., 1352, and similar compacts by almost 
every conclave after Eugenius down to the Reformation, 
but all with no result, for, as soon as the election was con- 
summated, the pope set the agreement aside and pursued his 
own course. 

On the day set for the opening of the council in Basel, 
March 7, 1431, only a single prelate was present, the abbot 
of Vezelay. The formal opening occurred July 23, but 
Cardinal Cesarini, who had been appointed by Martin and 
Eugenius to preside, did not appear till Sept. 9. He was 
detained by his duties as papal legate to settle the Hussite 
insurrection in Bohemia. Sigismund sent Duke William of 
Bavaria as protector, and the attendance speedily grew. The 
number of doctors present was larger in comparison to the 
number of prelates than at Constance. A member of the 
council said that out of 500 members he scarcely saw 20 
bishops. The rest belonged to the lower orders of the clergy, 
or were laymen. " Of old, bishops had settled the affairs of 
the Church, but now the common herd does it." 1 The most 
interesting personage in the convention was -/Eneas Sylvius 

1 Traversari, as quoted by Creighton, 1. 128. 

170 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Piccolomini, who came to Basel as Cardinal Capranica's 
secretary. He sat on some of its important commissions. 

The tasks set before the council were the completion of 
the work of Constance in instituting reforms, 1 and a peaceful 
settlement of the Bohemian heresy. Admirable as its effort 
was in both directions, it failed of papal favor, and the synod 
was turned into a constitutional battle over papal absolutism 
and conciliar supremacy. This battle was fought with the 
pen as well as in debate. Nicolas of Cusa, representing 
the scholastic element, advocated, in 1433, the supremacy of 
councils in his Concordantia catholica. The Dominican, John 
of Turrecremata, took the opposite view, and defended the 
doctrine of papal infallibility in his Summa de ecclesia et ejus 
auctoritate. For years the latter writing was the classical 
authority for the papal pretension. 

The business was performed not by nations but by four 
committees, each composed of an equal number of representa- 
tives from the four nations and elected for a month. When 
they agreed on any subject, it was brought before the council 
in public session. 

It soon became evident that the synod acknowledged no 
earthly authority above itself, and was in no mood to hear the 
contrary principle defended. On the other hand, Eugenius 
was not ready to tolerate free discussion and the synod's self- 
assertion, and took the unfortunate step of proroguing the 
synod to Bologna, making the announcement at a meeting of the 
cardinals, Dec. 18, 1431. The bull was made public at Basel 
four weeks later, and made an intense sensation. The synod 
was quick to give its answer, and decided to continue its sit- 
tings. This was revolution, but the synod had the nations 
and public opinion back of it, as well as the decrees of the 
Council of Constance. It insisted upon the personal presence 
of Eugenius, and on Feb. 15, 1432, declared for its own sover- 
eignty and that a general council might not be prorogued or 
transferred by a pope without its own consent. 

In the meantime Sigismund had received the iron crown at 

1 Ob reformationem eccles. Dei in capite et membris spedaliter congregatur, 
Mansi, XXIX. 105, etc. 

17. THE COUNCIL OF BASEL. 1481-1449. 171 

Milan, Nov. 25, 1431. He was at this period a strong sup- 
porter of the council's claims. A French synod, meeting at 
Bourges early in 1432, gave its sanction to them, and the 
University of Paris wrote that Eugenius' decree transferring 
the council was a suggestion of the devil. Becoming more 
bold, the council, at its third session, April 29, 1432, called 
upon the pope to revoke his bull and be present in person. At 
its fourth session, June 20, it decreed that, in case the papal 
office became vacant, the election to fill the vacancy should be 
held in Basel and that, so long as Eugenius remained away 
from Basel, he should be denied the right to create any more 
cardinals. The council went still farther, proceeded to 
arraign the pope for contumacy, and on Dec. 18 gave him 60 
days in which to appear, on pain of having formal proceedings 
instituted against him. 

Sigismund, who was crowned emperor in Rome the following 
Spring, May 31, 1433, was not prepared for such drastic action. 
He was back again in Basel in October, but, with the emperor 
present or absent, the council continued on its course, and 
repeatedly reaffirmed its superior authority, quoting the dec- 
larations of the Council of Constance at its fourth and fifth 
sessions. The voice of Western Christendom was against 
Eugenius, as were the most of his cardinals. Under the stress 
of this opposition, and pressed by the revolution threatening 
his authority in Rome, the pope gave way, and in the decree 
of Dec. 13, 1433, revoked his three bulls, beginning with 
Dec. 18, 1431, which adjourned the synod. He asserted he had 
acted with the advice of the cardinals, but now pronounced 
and declared the " General Council of Basel legitimate from 
the time of its opening." Any utterance or act prejudicial to 
the holy synod or derogatory to its authority, which had pro- 
ceeded from him, he revoked, annulled, and pronounced utterly 
void. 1 At the same time the pope appointed legates to pre- 

1 Decernimus et declaramus generate concil. Basileense a tempore in- 
choationis suce legitime continuatum fuisse et esse . . . quidquid per nos aut 
nostro nomine in prejudicium et derogationem sacri concil. Basileensis seu 
contra ejus auctoritatem factum et attentatum seu assertum e8t,caasamu8, re- 
vocamus, irritamus et annullamus, nullas, irritas fuisse et ease declaramus, 
Mansi, XXIX. 78. 

172 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617, 

side, and they were received by the synod. They swore x in 
their own names to accept and defend its decrees. 

No revocation of a former decree could have been made 
more explicit. The Latin vocabulary was strained for 
words. Catholic historians refrain from making an argu- 
ment against the plain meaning of the bull, which is fatal 
to the dogma of papal inerrancy and acknowledges the su- 
periority of general councils. At best they pass the decree 
with as little comment as possible, or content themselves 
with the assertion that Eugenius had no idea of con- 
firming the synod's reaffinnation of the famous decrees of 
Constance, or with the suggestion that the pope was under 
duress when he issued the document. 1 Both assumptions 
are without warrant. The pope made no exception what- 
ever when he confirmed the acts of the synod " from its 
opening." As for the explanation that the decree was 
forced, it needs only to be said that the revolt made against 
the pope in Rome, May, 1434, in which the Colonna took a 
prominent part, had not yet broken out, and there was no 
compulsion except that which conies from the judgment 
that one's case has failed. Cesarini, Nicolas of Cusa, 
JSneas Sylvius, John, patriarch of Antioch, and the other 
prominent personages at Basel, favored the theory of the 
supreme authority of councils, and they and the synod would 
have resented the papal deliverance if they had surmised 
its utterances meant something different from what they ex- 
pressly stated. Dollinger concludes his treatment of the sub- 
ject by saying that Eugenius' bull was the most positive and 
unequivocal recognition possible of the sovereignty of the 
council, and that the pope was subject to it. 

Eugenius was the last pope, with the exception of Pius 
IX., who has had to flee from Rome. Twenty-five popes 
had been obliged to escape from the city before him. Dis- 
guised in the garb of a Benedictine monk, and carried part 

1 So Hergenrather-Kirsch, II. 919, Pastor, I. 288, etc. Funk, Kirchen- 
gesch., p. 374, with his usual fairness, says that Eugenius in his bull gave 
unconditional assent to the council. So verstand er sich endlich zur unbe- 
dingten Annahme der Synode. 

17. THE COUNCIL OF BASEL. 1431-1449. 173 

of the way on the shoulders of a sailor, he reached a boat on 
the Tiber, but was recognized and pelted with a shower of 
stones, from which he escaped by lying flat in the boat, 
covered with a shield. Reaching Ostia, he took a galley to 
Livorno. From there he went to Florence. He remained 
in exile from 1434 to 1443. 

In its efforts to pacify the Hussites, the synod granted 
them the use of the cup, and made other concessions. The 
causes of their opposition to the Church had been expressed 
in the four articles of Prag. The synod introduced an al- 
together new method of dealing with heretics in guarantee- 
ing to the Hussites and their representatives full rights of 
discussion. Having settled the question of its own author- 
ity, the synod took up measures to reform the Church 
" in head and members." The number of the cardinals was 
restricted to 24, and proper qualifications insisted upon, a 
measure sufficiently needed, as Eugenius had given the red 
hat to two of his nephews. Annates, payments for the pal- 
lium, the sale of church dignities, and other taxes which the 
Apostolic See had developed, were abolished. The right of 
appeal to Rome was curtailed. Measures of another nature 
were the reaffirmation of the law of priestly celibacy, 1 and the 
prohibition of theatricals and other entertainments in church 
buildings and churchyards. In 1439 the synod issued a 
decree on the immaculate conception, by which Mary was 
declared to have always been free from original and actual 
sin. 2 The interference with the papal revenues affecting the 
entire papal household was, in a measure, atoned for by the 
promise to provide other sources. From the monarchical head 
of the Church, directly appointed by God, and responsible to 
no human tribunal, the supreme pontiff was reduced to an offi- 
cial of the council. Another class of measures sought to clear 
Basel of the offences attending a large and promiscuous gath- 
ering, such as gambling, dancing, and the arts of prostitutes, 
who were enjoined from showing themselves on the streets. 

1 De concubinariis, Mansi, XXIX. 101 sq. 

2 Immunem semper fuisse ab omni originali et actuali culpa, etc., Mansi, 
XXIX. 183. 

174 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Eugenius did not sit idly by while his prerogatives were 
being tampered with and an utterly unpapal method of deal- 
ing with heretics was being pursued. He communicated with 
the princes of Europe, June 1, 1436, complaining of the high- 
handed measures, such as the withdrawal of the papal reve- 
nues, the suppression of the prayer for the pope in the liturgy, 
and the giving of a vote to the lower clergy in the synod. 
At that juncture the union with the Greeks, a question 
which had assumed a place of great prominence, afforded 
the pope the opportunity for reasserting his authority and 
breaking up the council in the Swiss city. 

Overtures of union, starting with Constantinople, were 
made simultaneously through separate bodies of envoys sent 
to the pope and the council. The one met Eugenius at 
Bologna ; the other appeared in Basel in the summer of 1434. 
In discussing a place for a joint meeting of the representa- 
tives of the two communions, the Greeks expressed a prefer- 
ence for some Italian city, or Vienna. This exactly suited 
Eugenius, who had even suggested Constantinople as a place 
of meeting, but the synod sharply informed him that the city 
on the Bosphorus was not to be considered. In urging Basel, 
Avignon, or a city in Savoy, the Basel councilmen were losing 
their opportunity. Two delegations, one from the council 
and one from the pope, appeared in Constantinople, 1437, 
proposing different places of meeting. 

When the matter came up for final decision, the council, 
by a vote of 355 to 244, decided to continue the meeting at 
Basel, or, if that was not agreeable to the Greeks, then at 
Avignon. The minority, acting upon the pope's preference, 
decided in favor of Florence or Udine. In a bull dated 
Sept. 18, 1437, and signed by eight cardinals, Eugenius con- 
demned the synod for negotiating with the Greeks, pro- 
nounced it prorogued, and, at the request of the Greeks, as 
it alleged, transferred the council to Ferrara. 1 

1 "Transfer" is the word used by the pope transferendo hoc sacrum 
concilium in civitatem Ferrarensium, Mansi, XXIX. 166. Reasons for the 
transfer to an Italian city and an interesting statement of the discussion over 
the place of meeting are given in Haller, Cone. Bos., 1. 141-150. 

17. THE COUNCIL OF BASEL. 1481-1449. 175 

The synod was checkmated, though it did not appreciate 
its situation. The reunion of Christendom was a measure 
of overshadowing importance, and took precedence in men's 
minds of the reform of Church abuses. The Greeks all went 
to Ferrara. The prelates, who had been at Basel, gradually 
retired across the Alps, including Cardinals Cesarini and 
Nicolas of Cusa. The only cardinal left at Basel was d' Ale- 
man, archbishop of Aries. It was now an open fight between 
the pope and council, and it meant either a schism of the 
Western Church or the complete triumph of the papacy. 
The discussions at Basel were characterized by such vehe- 
mence that armed citizens had to intervene to prevent vio- 
lence. The conciliar theory was struggling for life. At its 
28th session, October, 1437, the council declared the papal 
bull null and void, and summoned Eugenius within sixty days 
to appear before it in person or by deputy. Four months 
later, Jan. 24, 1438, it declared Eugenius suspended, and, 
June 25, 1439, at its 34th session, "removed, deposed, de- 
prived, and cast him down," as a disturber of the peace of 
the Church, a simoniac and perjurer, incorrigible, and errant 
from the faith, a schismatic, and a pertinacious heretic. 1 
Previous to this, at its 33d session, it had again solemnly 
declared for the supreme jurisdiction of councils, and denied 
the pope the right to adjourn or transfer a general council. 
The holding of contrary views, it pronounced heresy. 

In the meantime the council at Ferrara had been opened, 
Jan. 8, 1438, and was daily gaining adherents. Charles VII. 
took the side of Eugenius, although the French people, at the 
synod of Bourges in the summer of 1438, accepted, substan- 
tially, the reforms proposed by the council of Basel. 2 This 
action, known as the Pragmatic Sanction, decided for the 
superiority of councils, and that they should be held every 

1 Eugenium fuisse et ease notorium et manifestum contwnacem, violatorem 
assuluum atque contemptorem sacrorum canonum synodalium, pacis et unita- 
tis eccles. Dei perturbatorem notorium . . . simoniaeum, perjurum, incor- 
riffibilem, schismaticum, a ftdt devium, pertinacem hatretieum, dilapidatorem 
jurium et bonorum eccleste, inuttlem et damnosum ad administrationem 
romani pontificii, etc., Mansi, XXIX. 180. 

9 Mirbt gives it in part, Quellen, p. 160. 

176 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

ten years, abolished annates and first-fruits, ordered the large 
benefices filled by elections, and limited the number of cardi- 
nals to twenty-four. These important declarations, which 
went back to the decrees of the Council of Constance, were the 
foundations of the Gallican liberties. 

The attitude of the German princes and ecclesiastics was 
one of neutrality or of open support of the council at Basel. 
Sigismund died at the close of the year 1437, and, before the 
election of his son-in-law, Albrecht II., as his successor, the 
electors at Frankfurt decided upon a course of neutrality. 
Albrecht survived his election as king of the Romans less than 
two years, and his uncle, Frederick III., was chosen to~take 
his place. Frederick, after observing neutrality for several 
years, gave his adhesion to Eugenius. 

Unwilling to be ignored and put out of life, the council at 
Basel, through a commission of thirty-two, at whose head 
stood d'Aleman, elected, 1439, Amadeus, duke of Savoy, as 
pope. 1 After the loss of his wife, 1435, Amadeus formed the 
order of St. Mauritius, and lived with several companions in 
a retreat at Ripaille, on the Lake of Geneva. He was a man 
of large wealth and influential family connections. He as- 
sumed the name of Felix V., and appointed four cardinals. 
A year after his election, and accompanied by his two sons, 
he entered Basel, and was crowned by Cardinal d'Aleman. 
The tiara is said to have cost 30,000 crowns. Thus Western 
Christendom again witnessed a schism. Felix had the sup- 
port of Savoy and some of the German princes, of Alfonso 
of Aragon, and the universities of Paris, Vienna, Cologne, 
Erfurt, and Cracow. Frederick III. kept aloof from Basel 
and declined the offer of marriage to Margaret, daughter of 
Felix and widow of Louis of Anjou, with a dowry of 200,000 

The papal achievement in winning Frederick III., king of 
the Romans, was largely due to the corruption of Frederick's 
chief minister, Caspar Schlick, and the treachery of jEneas 
Sylvius, who deserted one cause and master after another as 

1 H. Manger, D. Wahl Amadeoa v. Savoy en gum Papste, Marburg, 1901, 
p. 04. Sigismund, in 1416, raised the counts of Savoy to the dignity of dukes. 

17. THE COUNCIL OF BASEL. 1431-1449. 177 

it suited his advantage. From being a vigorous advocate of 
the council, he turned to the side of Eugenius, to whom he 
made a most fulsome confession, and, after passing from the 
service of Felix, he became secretary to Frederick, and proved 
himself Eugenius' most shrewd and pliable agent. He was 
an adept in diplomacy and trimmed his sails to the wind. 

The archbishops of Treves and Cologne, who openly sup- 
ported the Basel assembly, were deposed by Eugenius, 1446. 
The same year six of the electors offered Eugenius their 
obedience, provided he would recognize the superiority of an 
oecumenical council, and within thirteen months call a new 
council to meet on German soil. Following the advice of 
-/Eneas Sylvius, the pope concluded it wise to show a concilia- 
tory attitude. Papal delegates appeared at the diet, meeting 
September, 1446, and ^Eneas was successful in winning over 
the margrave of Brandenburg and other influential princes. 
The following January he and other envoys appeared in 
Rome as representatives of the archbishop of Mainz, Fred- 
erick III., and other princes. The result of the negotiations 
was a concordat, the so-called princes' concordat, Fiirsten 
Konkordat, by which the pope restored the two deposed 
archbishops, recognized the superiority of general councils, 
and gave to Frederick the right during his lifetime to 
nominate the incumbents of the six bishoprics of Trent, 
Brixen, Chur, Gurk, Trieste, and Pilsen, and to him and his 
successors the right to fill, subject to the pope's approval, 
100 Austrian benefices. These concessions Eugenius ratified 
in four bulls, Feb. 5-7, 1447, one of them, the bull Scdvatoria, 
declaring that the pope in the previous three bulls had not 
meant to disparage the authority of the Apostolic See, and if 
his successors found his concessions out of accord with the 
doctrine of the fathers, they were to be regarded as void. 
The agreement was celebrated in Rome with the ringing of 
bells, and was confirmed by Nicolas V. in the so-called Vienna 
Concordat, Feb. 17, 1448. 1 

Eugenius died Feb. 23, 1447, and was laid at the side of 
Eugenius III. in St. Peter's. He had done nothing to intro- 

i Given in Mirbt, p. 165 sqq. 

178 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

duce reforms into the Church. Like Martin V., he was fond 
of art, q, taste he cultivated during his exile in Florence. He 
succeeded in perpetuating the mediaeval view of the papacy, 
and in delaying the reformation of the Church which, when 
it came, involved the schism in Western Christendom which 
continues to this day. 

The Basel council continued to drag on a tedious and un- 
eventful existence. It was no longer in the stream of notice- 
able events. It stultified itself by granting Felix a tenth. 
In June, 1448, it adjourned to Lausanne. Reduced to a 
handful of adherents, and weary of being a synonym for in- 
nocuous failure, it voted to accept Nicolas V., Eugenius* suc- 
cessor, as legitimate pope, and then quietly breathed its last, 
April 25, 1449. After courteously revoking his bulls anath- 
ematizing Eugenius and Nicolas, Felix abdicated. He was 
not allowed to suffer, much less obliged to do penance, for 
his presumption in exercising papal functions. He was made 
cardinal-bishop of Sabina, and Apostolic vicar in Savoy and 
other regions which had recognized his " obedience." Three 
of his cardinals were admitted to the curia, and d'Aleman 
forgiven. Felix died in Geneva, 1451. 1 

The Roman Church has not since had an anti-pope. The 
Council of Basel concluded the series of the three councils, 
which had for their chief aims the healing of the papal schism 
and the reformation of Church abuses. They opened with 
great promise at Pisa, where a freedom of discussion prevailed 
unheard of before, and where the universities and their learned 
representatives appeared as a new element in the delibera- 
tions of the Church. The healing of the schism was accom- 
plished, but the abuses in the Church went on, and under the 
last popes of the fifteenth century became more infamous 
than they had been at any time before. And yet even in 
this respect these councils were not in vain, for they afforded 
a warning to the Protestant reformers not to put their trust 

i In his bull Ut pacts, 1449, recognizing the Lausanne act in his favor, 
Nicolas V. called Amadeus " his venerable and most beloved brother," and 
spoke of the Basel-Lausanne synod as being held under the name of an 
oecumenical council, sub nomine generate concilii, Labbaus, XII. 663, 666. 


even in ecclesiastical assemblies. As for the theory of the 
supremacy of general councils which they had maintained 
with such dignity, it was proudly set aside by later popes in 
their practice and declared fallacious by the Fifth Lateran in 
1516, 1 and by the dogma of papal infallibility announced at 
the Council of the Vatican, 1870. 

18. The Council of Ferrara-Florence. 1438-1445. 

The council of Ferrara witnessed the submission of the 
Greeks to the Roman see. It did not attempt to go into the 
subject of ecclesiastical reforms, and thus vie with the synod 
at Basel. After sixteen sessions held at Ferrara, Eugenius 
transferred the council, February, 1439, to Florence. The rea- 
son given was the unhealthy conditions in Ferrara, but the real 
grounds were the offer of the Florentines to aid Eugenius 
in the support of his guests from the East and, by getting 
away from the seaside, to lessen the chances of the Greeks 
going home before the conclusion of the union. In 1442 the 
council was transferred to Rome, where it held two sessions in 
the Lateran. The sessions at Ferrara, Florence, and Rome are 
listed with the first twenty-five sessions of the council of Basel, 
and together they are counted as the seventeenth oecumenical 
council. 2 

The schism between the East and the West, dating 
from the middle of the ninth century, while Nicolas I. and 
Photius were patriarchs respectively of Rome and Constanti- 
nople, was widened by the crusades and the conquest of Con- 
stantinople, 1204. The interest in a reunion of the two 
branches of the Church was shown by the discussion at Bari, 
1098, when Anselm was appointed to set forth the differences 
with Greeks, and by the treatments of Thomas Aquinas and 
other theologians. The only notable attempt at reunion was 

1 Sess. XI. romanum pontificem tanquam super omnia concilia auctorita- 
tem habentem, conciliorum indicendorum transferendorum ac dissolvendorum 
plenum jus et potestatem habere. This council at the same time pronounced 
the Council of Basel a " little council,' 1 conciliabulum, "or rather a con- 
venticle, 1 ' conventicula. Mansi, XXXII. 067. 

9 Hefele-Kiiopfler, Kirchengeach., p. 477. 

180 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

made at the second council of Lyons, 1274, when a deputation 
from the East accepted articles of agreement which, however, 
were rejected by the Eastern churches. In 1369, the em- 
peror John visited Rome and abjured the schism, but his 
action met with unfavorable response in Constantinople. 
Delegates appeared at Constance, 1418, sent by Manuel 
Palseologus and the patriarch of Constantinople, 1 and, in 
1422, Martin V. despatched the Franciscan, Anthony Mas- 
sanus, to the Bosphorus, with nine articles as a basis of union. 
These articles led on to the negotiations conducted at Ferrara. 

Neither Eugenius nor the Greeks deserve any credit for the 
part they took in the conference. The Greeks were actuated 
wholly by a desire to get the assistance of the West against 
the advance of the Turks, and not by religious zeal. So far 
as the Latins are concerned, they had to pay all the expenses 
of the Greeks on their way to Italy, in Italy, and on their 
way back as the price of the conference. Catholic historians 
have little enthusiasm in describing the empty achievements 
of Eugenius. 2 

The Greek delegation was large and inspiring, and included 
the emperor and the patriarch of Constantinople. In Vene- 
tian vessels rented by the pope, the emperor John VI., Palae- 
ologus, reached Venice in February, 1438. 3 He was accorded 
a brilliant reception, but it is fair to suppose that the pleas- 
ure he may have felt in the festivities was not unmixed with 
feelings of resentment, when he recalled the sack and pillage 
of his capital, in 1204, by the ancestors of his entertainers. 
John reached Ferrara March 6. The Greek delegation com- 
prised 700 persons. Eugenius had arrived Jan. 27. In his 
bull, read in the synod, he called the emperor his most beloved 
son, and the patriarch his most pious brother. 4 In a public 

1 Richental, Chronik, p. 113, has a notice of their arrival. 

2 So Hefele-Knopfler, Kirchengesch., p. 476 ; Hergenrother-Kirsch, II. 049 ; 
Funk, Kirchengesch., p. 377. Pastor, II. 307, says, ** Die politische Nothlage 
brachte endlich die Griechen zum Nachyeben." 

8 An account of the emperor's arrival and entertainment at Venice is 
given in Mansi, XXXI. 463 sqq. 

* Dilectissimus filius noster Bomceorum imperator cum piissimmo fratre 
nostro, Josepho Const, patriarchy Mansi, XXXI. 481. 


address delivered by Cardinal Cesarini, the differences divid- 
ing the two communions were announced as four, the mode 
of the procession of the Holy Spirit, the use of unleavened 
bread in the eucharist, the doctrine of purgatory, and the papal 
primacy. The discussions exhibit a mortifying spectacle of 
theological clipping and patchwork. They betray no pure 
zeal for the religious interests of mankind. The Greeks in- 
terposed all manner of dilatory tactics while they lived upon 
the hospitality of their hosts. The Latins were bent upon 
asserting the supremacy of the Roman bishop. The Orientals, 
moved by considerations of worldly policy, thought only of 
the protection of their enfeebled empire. 

Among the more prominent Greeks present were Bessarion, 
bishop of Nice, Isidore, archbishop of Russian Kief, and Mark 
Eugenicus, archbishop of Ephesus. Bessarion and Isidore re- 
mained in the West after the adjournment of the council, and 
were rewarded by Eugenius with the red hat. The arch- 
bishop of Ephesus has our admiration for refusing to bow 
servilely to the pope and join his colleagues in accepting 
the articles of union. The leaders among the Latins were 
Cardinals Cesarini and Albergati, and the Spaniard Tur- 
recremata, who was also given the red hat after the council 

The first negotiations concerned matters of etiquette. Eu- 
genius gave a private audience to the patriarch, but waived 
the ceremony of having his foot kissed. An important ques- 
tion was the proper seating of the delegates, and the Greek 
emperor saw to it that accurate measurements were taken of 
the seats set apart for the Greeks, lest they should have posi- 
tions of less honor than the Latins. 1 The pope's promise to 
support his guests was arranged by a monthly grant of thirty 
florins to the emperor, twenty-five to the patriarch, four each 
to the prelates, and three to the other visitors. What possi- 
ble respect could the more high-minded Latins have for eccle- 
siastics, and an emperor, who, while engaged on the mission of 
Church reunion, were willing to be the pope's pensioners, and 
live upon his dole ! 

1 So Syrophulos. See Hefele, Conciliengesch., VII. 672. 

182 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

The first common session was not held till Oct. 8, 1438. 
Most of it was taken up with a long address by Bessarion, as 
was the time of the second session by a still longer address by 
another Greek. The emperor did his share in promoting de- 
lay by spending most of his time hunting. At the start the 
Greeks insisted there could be no addition to the original 
creed. Again and again they were on the point of withdraw- 
ing, but were deterred from doing so by dread of the Turks 
and empty purses. 1 

A commission of twenty, ten Greeks and ten Latins, was 
appointed to conduct the preliminary discussion on the ques- 
tions of difference. 

The Greeks accepted the addition made to the Constantino- 
politan creed by the synod of Toledo, 589, declaring that the 
Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, but with the 
stipulation that they were not to be required to introduce 
the filioque clause when they used the creed. They justified 
their course on the ground that they had understood the Lat- 
ins as holding to the procession from the Father and the Son 
as from two principles. The article of agreement ran : " The 
Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son eternally and 
substantially as it were from one source and cause." 2 

In the matter of purgatory, it was decided that immediately 
at death the blessed pass to the beatific vision, a view the 
Greeks had rejected. Souls in purgatory are purified by pain 
and may be aided by the suffrages of the living. At the in- 
sistence of the Greeks, material fire as an element of purifica- 
tion was left out. 

The use of leavened bread was conceded to the Greeks. 

In the matter of the eucharist, the Greeks, who, after the 
words, "this is my body," make a petition that the Spirit may 
turn the bread into Christ's body, agreed to the view that 
transubstantiation occurs at the use of the priestly words, 

1 Hergenrdther-Kirsch, II. 949, lays stress upon the Greek readiness to 
accept alms. 

8 jEternaliter et substantialiter tanquam ab uno principle et causa. The 
statement expatre et Jllio and ex patre per filium were declared to be iden- 
tical in meaning. 


but stipulated that the confession be not incorporated in the 
written articles. 

The primacy of the Roman bishop offered the most serious 
difficulty. The article of union acknowledged him as "having 
a primacy over the whole world, he himself being the suc- 
cessor of Peter, and the true vicar of Christ, the head of the 
whole Church, the father and teacher of all Christians, to 
whom, in Peter, Christ gave authority to feed, govern and 
rule the universal Church." 1 This remarkable concession 
was modified by a clause in the original document, running, 
"according as it is defined by the acts of the oecumenical 
councils and by the sacred canons." 2 The Latins afterwards 
changed the clause so as to read, " even as it is defined by the 
oecumenical councils and the holy canons." The Latin falsi- 
fication made the early oecumenical councils a witness to the 
primacy of the Roman pontiff. 

The articles of union were incorporated in a decree 8 be- 
ginning Lcetentur cceli et exultat terra, " Let the heavens re- 
joice and the earth be glad." It declared that the middle 
wall of partition between the Occidental and Oriental 
churches has been taken down by him who is the corner- 
stone, Christ. The black darkness of the long schism had 
passed away before the ray of concord. Mother Church re- 
joiced to see her divided children reunited in the bonds of 
peace and love. The union was due to the grace of the Holy 
Ghost. The articles were signed July 5 by 115 Latins and 

1 Diffinimus sanctam apostol. sedem et Eomanam pontificem in universum 
orbem tenere primatum et ipsum pontificem Eomanum successorem esse B. 
Petri primipis apostolorum, et verum Christi vicarium, totiusque ecclesice 
caput, et omnium Chnstianorum patrem et doctorem exiatere, etc. Mansi, 
XXXI. 1697. 

2 Quemadmodum et in gestis cscumenicorum conciliorum et in sacris ca- 
nonibus continetur. The change placed an etiam in the place of the first et t so 
that the clause ran quemadmodum etiam in gestis, etc. See Dollinger-Fried- 
rich, D. Papstthum, pp. 170, 470 sq. Dollinger says that in the Roman ed. of 
1626 the Ferrara council was called the 8th oecumenical. 

8 The document, together with the signatures, is given in Mansi, pp. 1028- 
1036, 1695-1701. Hefele-Knopfler, ConciliengeBch., VII. 742-753, has regarded 
it of such importance as to give the Greek and Latin originals in full, and also 
a German translation. 

184 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1617. 

33 Greeks, of whom 18 were metropolitans. Archbishop 
Mark of Ephesus was the only one of the Orientals who re- 
fused to sign. The patriarch of Constantinople had died a 
month before, but wrote approving the union. His body lies 
buried in S. Maria Novella, Florence. His remains and the 
original manuscript of the articles, which is preserved in the 
Laurentian library at Florence, are the only relics left of 
the union. 

On July 6, 1439, the articles were publicly read in the 
cathedral of Florence, the Greek text by Bessarion, and the 
Latin by Cesarini. The pope was present and celebrated the 
mass. The Latins sang hymns in Latin, and the Greeks fol- 
lowed them with hymns of their own. Eugenius promised 
for the defence of Constantinople a garrison of three hundred 
and two galleys and, if necessary, the armed help of Western 
Christendom. After tarrying for a month to receive the five 
months of arrearages of his stipend, the emperor returned by 
way of Venice to his capital, from which he had been absent 
two years. 

The Ferrara agreement proved to be a shell of paper, and 
all the parade and rejoicing at the conclusion of the proceed- 
ings were made ridiculous by the utter rejection of its articles 
in Constantinople. 

On their return, the delegates were hooted as Azymites, the 
name given in contempt to the Latins for using unleavened 
bread in the eucharist. Isidore, after making announcement 
of the union at Ofen, was seized and put into a convent, from 
which he escaped two years later to Rome. The patriarchs 
of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria issued a letter from 
Jerusalem, 1443, denouncing the council of Florence as a synod 
of robbers and Metrophanes, the Byzantine patriarch as a 
matricide and heretic. 

It is true the articles were published in St. Sophia, Dec. 
14, 1452, by a Latin cardinal, but six months later, Constan- 
tinople was in the hands of the Mohammedans. A Greek 
council, meeting in Constantinople, 1472, formally rejected 
the union. 

On the other hand, the success of the Roman policy was 


announced through Western Europe. Eugenius' position was 
strengthened by the empty triumph, and in the same propor- 
tion the influence of the Basel synod lessened. If cordial 
relations between churches of the East and the West were not 
promoted at Ferrara and Florence, a beneficent influence 
flowed from the council in another direction by the diffusion 
of Greek scholarship and letters in the West. 

Delegations also from the Armenians and Jacobites appeared 
at Florence respectively in 1439 and 1442. The Copts and 
Ethiopians also sent delegations, and it seemed as if the time 
had arrived for the reunion of all the distracted parts of Chris- 
tendom. 1 A union with the Armenians, announced Nov. 22, 
1439, declared that the Eastern delegates had accepted the 
procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son and the Chalcedon 
Council giving Christ two natures and by implication two 
wills. The uniate Armenians have proved true to the union. 
The Armenian catholicos, Gregory IX., who attempted to en- 
force the union, was deposed, and the Turks, in 1461, set up an 
Armenian patriarch, with seat at Constantinople. The union 
of the Jacobites, proclaimed in 1442, was universally disowned 
in the East. The attempts to conciliate the Copts and Ethiopi- 
ans were futile. Eugenius sent envoys to the East to apprise 
the Maronites and the Nestorians of the efforts at reunion. 
The Nestorians on the island of Cyprus submitted to Rome, 
and a century later, during the sessions of the Fifth Lateran, 
1516, the Maronites were received into the Roman com- 

On Aug. 7, 1445, Eugenius adjourned the long council 
which had begun its sittings at Basel, continued them at 
Ferrara and Florence, and concluded them in the Lateran. 

1 See Mansi, XXXI. 1047 sqq. ; Hefele-Knbpfler, VII. 788 sqq. The only 
meeting since between Greeks and Western ecclesiastics of public note was 
at the Bonn Conference, 1876, in which Ddllinger and the Old-Catholics took 
the most prominent part. Dr. Philip Schaff and several Anglican divines 
also participated. See Creeds of Christendom, II 545-554, and Life of Philip 
Schaff, pp. 277-280. 


19. Literature. 

of Ockam's works exists. The fullest lists are given by RIEZLER, see below, 
LITTLE : Grey Friars of Oxford, pp. 226-234, and POTTHAST : II. 871-873. 
GOLDAST'B Monarchia, II. 313-1296, contains a number of his works, e.g. 
opus nonaginta dierum, Compendium errorum Johannis XXII., De utiU 
dominio rerum eccles. et abdications bonorum temporalium, Super potestatem 
summi pontijicis, Qucestionum octo decisiones, Dial, de potestate papali et 
imperials in tres partes distinctus, (1) de hcereticis, (2) de erroribus Joh. 
XXIL, (3) de potestate papa, conciliorum et imperatoris (first publ. 2 vols., 
Paris, 1476). Other works : Expositio aurea super totam artem veterem, a 
com. on PORPHYRY'S Isagoge, and ARISTOTLE'S Elenchus, Bologna, 1496. 
Summa logices, Paris, 1488. Super IV. libros sententiarum, Lyons, 1483. 
De sacramento altaris, Strassburg, 1491. De prcedestinatione et futuris con- 
tingentibus, Bologna, 1496. Quodlibeta septem, Paris, 1487. RIEZLER: D. 
antipdpstlichen und publizistischen Schriften Occams in his Die literar. 
Widersacher, etc., 241-277. HAUREAU : La philos. scolastique. WERNER : 
Die Scholastik des spateren M.A., II., Vienna, 1883, and Der hi. Thos. von 
Aquino, III. STOCKL : Die Philos. des M.A., II. 986-1021, and art. Nomi- 
nalismus in Wetzer-Welte, IX. BAUR: Die christl Kirche d. MA., p. 377 
sqq. MILLER : Der Kampf Ludwigs des Baiern. R. L. POOLE in Dirt, of 
Natl. Biog., XLI. 367-362. R. SEEBERO in Herzog, XIV. 260-280. A. 
DORNER; D. Verhaltniss von Kirche und Staat nach Occam in Mudien und 
Kritiken, 1886, pp. 672-722. F. KROPATSCHECK : Occam und Luther in Beitr. 
zur Forderung christl. Theol., Gutersloh, 1900. Art. Nominalismus, by 
STOCKL in Wetzer-Welte, IX. 423-427. 

For 21. CATHERINE OP SIENA. Her writings. Epistole ed orazioni 
della seraphica vergine s. Catterina da Siena, Venice, 1600, etc. Best ed. 
6 vols., Siena, 1707-1726. Engl. trans, of the Dialogue of the Seraphic 
Virgin Cath. of Siena, by ALOAR THOROLD, London, 1896. Her Letters, ed. 
by N. TOMMABEO : Le letters di S. Caterina da Siena, 4 vols. , Florence, 1860. 
*Engl. trans, by VIDA D. SCUDDER : St. Cath. of Siena as seen in her Letters, 
London, 1906, 2d ed., 1906. Her biography is based upon the Life written 
by her confessor, RAYMUNDO DE VINEIB BIVE DE CAPUA, d. 1399 : vita s. Cath. 
Senensis, included in the Siena ed. of her works and in the Acta Sanctt. III. 
863-969. Ital. trans, by Catherine's secretary, NERI DE LANDOCCIO, Fr. 
trans, by E. CARTIER, Paris, 1863, 4th ed., 1877. An abbreviation of Ray- 
mund's work, with annotations, Leggenda della Cat. da Siena, usually called 


19. LITEBATUBB. 187 

La Leggenda minore, by TOMMASO D' ANTONIO Nxoci CAFPABINI, 1414. K. 
HA SB : Caterina von Siena, Ein Heiligeribild, Leipzig, 1864, new ed., 1892. 
J. E. BUTLKB: Cath. of Siena, London, 1878, 4th ed., 1896. AUGUSTA T. 
DRANE, Engl. Dominican : The Hist, of Cath. of Siena, compiled from the 
orig. sources, London, 1880, 3d ed., 1900, with a trans, of the Dialogue. 
St. Catherine of Siena and her Times, by the author of Mademoiselle Mori 
(Margaret D. Roberts), New York, 1906, pays little attention to the miracu- 
lous element, and presents a full picture of Catherine's age. *E. G. GARDNER : 
St. Catherine of Siena : A Study in the Religion, Literature, and History of 
the fourteenth century in Italy, London, 1907. 

For 22. PETER D'AILLY. PAUL TSCHACKERT : Peter von Ailli. Zur 
Gesch. des grossen abendlandischen Schismas und der Reformconcilien von 
Pisa und Constanz, Gotha, 1877, and Art. in HERZOG, I. 274-280. SALEM- 
BIER : Petrus de Alliaco, Lille, 1886. LENZ : Drei Traktate aus d. Schriften- 
cyclusd. Konst. Konz., Marburg, 1876. BESS: Zur Gesch. des Konst. Konzils, 
Marburg, 1891. FINKE: Forsc.hungen und Quellen, etc., pp. 103-182. For 
a list of D'Ailly's writings, See TSCHACKERT, pp. 348-365. Some of them 
are given in VAN DER HARDT and in Du PIN'S ed. of Gerson's Works, I. 489- 
804, and the De difficultate reform, cedes., and the De necessitate reform, 
eccles., II. 867-903. 

For 23. JOHN GERSON. Works. Best ed. by L. E. Du PIN, Prof, of 
Theol. in Paris, 6 vols., Antwerp, 1706 ; 2d ed., Hague Com., 1728. The 
2d ed. has been consulted in this work and is pronounced by Schwab " indis- 
pensable/ 1 It contains the materials of Gerson's life and the contents of his 
works in an introductory essay, Gersoniana, I. i-cxlv, and also writings 
by D'AILLY, LANGENSTEIN, ALEMAN and other contemporaries. A number 
of Gerson's works are given in GOLDAST'S Monarchia and VAN DER HARDT. 
A Vita Gersonis is given in HARDT' s Cone. Const., IV. 26-57. Chartul. Univ. 
Paris., III., IV., under John Arnaud and Gerson. J. B. SCHWAB : Johannes 
Gerson, Prof, der Theologie und Kanzler der Universitdt Paris, Wtirzburg, 
1858, an exhaustive work, giving also a history of the times, one of the most 
thorough of biographies and to be compared with HURTER'S Innocent III. 
A. MASSON : J. Gerson, sa vie, son temps et ses oyuvres, Lyons, 1894. 
A. LAMBON : J. Gerson, sa reforme de Venseigement theol. et de V education 
populaire, Paris, 1888. BESS: Zur Gesch. d. Konstanz. Konzils; art. 
Gerson in HERZOO, VI. 612-617. LAFONTAINE : Jehas Gerson, 1S63-1429, 
Paris, 1906, pp. 340. J. SCHWANE : Dogmengesch. WERNER: D. Scholastik 
d. spdteren M.A., IV., V. 

For 24. NICOLAS OP CLAMANOES. Works, ed. by J. M. LYDIUS, 2 vols., 
Leyden, 1613, with Life. The De ruina ecclesia, with a Life, in VAN DEB 
HARDT: Cone. Constan., vol. L, pt. III. Writings not in Lydius are given 
by BULJEUB in Hist. univ. Paris. BALUZIUS : Miscellanea, and D'ACHERY : 
Spicilegium. Life in Du PIN'S Works of Gerson, I., p. xxxix sq. A. MUNTZ: 
Nic. de Clem., sa vie et ses Merits, Strassburg, 1846. J. SCHWAB : J. Gerson, 
pp. 493-497. Artt. by BESS in HERZOO, IV. 138-147, and by KNOPFLER in 
Wetzer-Welte, IX. 298-806. G. SCHUBERT: Nic. von Clem, als Verfasser 
der Schrift de corrupto ecclesias statu, Grossenhain, 1888. 

For 25. NICOLAS OF CUBA. Edd. of his Works, 1476 (place not given), 

188 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

as ed. by FABER STAPULENSIS, 3 vole., 1514, Basel. German trans, of a 
number of the works by F. A. SCHRAPFF, Freiburg, 1862. SCHRAPFF : Der 
Cardinal und Bischof Nic. von Cusa, Mainz, 1843 ; Nic. von Cusa als Re- 
formator in Kirche, Reich und Philosophic des 15ten Jahrh.^ Tubingen, 1871. 
J. M. Dtfx : Der deutsche Card. Nic. von Cusa und die Kirche seiner Zeit, 
2 vols., Regensburg, 1847. J. UEBINGER : D. Gotteslehre des Nic. von Cusa, 
Munster, 1888. J. MARX : Nik. von Cues und seme Stiftungen zu Cues und 
Deventer, Treves, 1906, pp. 115. C. SCHMITT : Card. Nic. Cusanus, Coblenz, 
1907. Presents him as astronomer, geographer, mathematician, histo- 
rian, homilete, orator, philosopher, and theologian. STOCKL, III. 23-84. 
SCHWANE, pp. 98-102. Art. by FUNK in Wetzer-Welte, IX. 306-316. 

20. Ockam and the Decay of Scholasticism. 

Scholasticism had its last great representative in Duns 
Scotus, d. 1308. After him the scholastic method gradually 
passed into disrepute. New problems were thrust upon the 
mind of Western Europe, and new interests were engaging its 
attention. The theologian of the school and the convent gave 
way to the practical theological disputant setting forth his 
views in tracts and on the floor of the councils. Free dis- 
cussion broke up the hegemony of dogmatic assertion. The 
authority of the Fathers and of the papacy lost its exclu- 
sive hold, and thinkers sought another basis of authority in 
the general judgment of contemporary Christendom, in the 
Scriptures alone or in reason. The new interest in letters and 
the natural world drew attention away from labored theologi- 
cal systems which were more adapted to display the ingenuity 
of the theologian than to be of practical value to society. The 
use of the spoken languages of Europe in literature was fitted 
to force thought into the mould of current exigencies. The 
discussions of Roger Bacon show that at the beginning of the 
fourteenth century men's minds, sated with abstruse meta- 
physical solutions of theological questions, great and trivial, 
were turning to a world more real and capable of proof. 

The chief survivors of the dialectical Schoolmen were Du- 
randus and William Ockam. Gabriel Biel of Tubingen, who 
died just before the close of the fifteenth century, is usually 
called the last of the Schoolmen. 1 Such men as D'Ailly, Ger- 

1 Seeberg gives a good deal of attention to Biel in his Dogmengeschichte. 
Stockl carries the history of scholasticism down to Cardinal Cajetan, who wrote 


son and Wyclif, sometimes included under the head of medi- 
eval scholastics, evidently belong to another class. 

A characteristic feature of the scholasticism of Durandus 
and Ockani is the sharper distinction they made between 
reason and revelation. Following Duns Scotus, they declared 
that doctrines peculiar to revealed theology are not suscep- 
tible of proof by pure reason. The body of dogmatic truth, 
as accepted by the Church, they did not question. 

A second characteristic is the absence of originality. They 
elaborated what they received. The Schoolmen of former 
periods had exhausted the list of theological questions and 
discussed them from every standpoint. 

The third characteristic is the revival and ascendency of 
nominalism, the principle Roscellinus advocated more than 
two hundred years before. The Nominalists were also called 
Terminists, because they represent words as terms which do 
not necessarily have ideas and realities to correspond to them. 
A universal is simply a symbol or term for a number of things 
or for that which is common to a number of things. 1 Univer- 
sality is nothing more than a mode of mental conception. The 
University of Paris resisted the spread of nominalism, and in 
1339 the four nations forbade the promulgation of Ockam's 
doctrine or listening to its being expounded in private or 
public. 2 In 1473, Louis XI. issued a mandate forbidding the 
doctors at Paris teaching it, and prohibiting the use of the 
writings of Ockarn, Marsiglius and other writers. In 1481 
the law was rescinded. 

Durandus, known as doctor resolutiasimus, the resolute doc- 
tor, d. 1334, was born at Pour^ain, in the diocese of Clermont, 
entered the Dominican order, was appointed by John XXII. 
bishop of Limoux, 1317, and was later elevated to the sees of 
Puy and Meaux. He attacked some of the rules of the Fran- 

acommentary on Thomas Aquinas' Summatheologica, and includes the German 
mystics, Eck, Luther, etc., who clearly belong in another category. Professor 
Seth, in art. Scholasticism in the Enc. Brit*, and Werner, close the history with 
Francis Suarez, 1617. The new age had begun a hundred years before that tune. 

1 Terminus prolatusvel scriptus nihil signiftcat nisi secundum voluntariam 
institutionem. Ockam, as quoted by Stbckl, II. 962. 

2 Chartul. II. 485. Also p. 607, etc. 

190 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

ciscans and John XXII. *s theory of the beatific vision, and in 
1333 was declared by a commission guilty of eleven errors. 
His theological views are found in his commentary on the 
Lombard, begun when he was a young man and finished in his 
old age. He showed independence by assailing some of the 
views of Thomas Aquinas. He went beyond his predecessors 
in exalting the Scriptures above tradition and pronouncing 
their statements more authoritative than the dicta of Aristotle 
and other philosophers. 1 All real existence is in the indi- 
vidual. The universal is not an entity which can be divided 
as a chunk of wood is cut into pieces. The universal, the 
unity by which objects are grouped together as a class, is de- 
duced from individuals by an act of the mind. That which 
is common to a class has, apart from the individuals of the 
class, no real existence. 

On the doctrine of the eucharist Durandus seems not to 
have been fully satisfied with the view held by the Church, and 
suggested that the words " this is my body," may mean " con- 
tained under " contentum sub hoc. This marks an approach 
to Luther's view of consubstantiation. This theologian was 
held in such high esteem by Gerson that he recommended him, 
together with Thomas Aquinas, Bradwardine and Henry of 
Ghent, to the students of the college of Navarre. 2 

The most prof ound scholastic thinker of the fourteenth cen- 
tury was the Englishman, William Ockam, d. 1349, called 
doctor invincibility the invincible doctor, or, with reference to 
his advocacy of nominalism, venerabilia inceptor, the venerable 
inaugurator. His writings, which were more voluminous than 
lucid, were much published at the close of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, but have not been put into print for several hundred 
years. There is no complete edition of them. Ockam's 
views combined elements which were strictly mediaeval, and 
elements which were adopted by the Reformers and modern 

1 Naturalis philosophies non est scire quid Aristoteles vel alii philosophi 
senserunt sed quid habet veritas rerum, quoted by Deutsch, p. 97. Durandus' 
commentary on the sentences of the Lombard was publ. Paris, 1608, 1615, 
etc. See DtHtoch, art. Durandus, in Herzog, V. 06-104. 

2 Schwab : J. Gerson, p. 812. 


philosophy. His identification with the cause of the Spirit- 
ual Franciscans involved him in controversy with two popes, 
John XXII. and Benedict XII. His denial of papal infalli- 
bility has the appearance not so much of a doctrine pro- 
ceeding from theological conviction as the chance weapon laid 
hold of in time of conflict to protect the cause of the Spirituals. 

Of the earlier period of Ockam's life, little is known. He 
was born in Surrey, studied at Oxford, where he probably was a 
student of Dims Scotus, entered the Franciscan order, and was 
probably master in Paris, 1315-1820. For his advocacy of the 
doctrine of Christ's absolute poverty he was, by order of John 
XXII., tried and found guilty and thrown into confinement. 1 
With the aid of Lewis the Bavarian, he and his companions, 
Michael of Cesena and Bonagratia, escaped in 1328 to Pisa. 
From that time on, the emperor and the Schoolman, as already 
stated, defended one another. Ockam accompanied the em- 
peror to Munich and was excommunicated. At Cesena's 
death the Franciscan seal passed into his hands, but whatever 
authority he possessed he resigned the next year into the 
hands of the acknowledged Franciscan general, Farinerius. 
Clement VI. offered him absolution on condition of his abjur- 
ing his errors. Whether he accepted the offer or not is un- 
known. He died at Munich and is buried there. The dis- 
tinguished Englishman owes his reputation to his revival of 
nominalism, his political theories and his definition of the final 
seat of religious authority. 

His theory of nominalism was explicit, and offered no toler- 
ation to the realism of the great Schoolmen from Anselm on. 
Individual things alone have factual existence. The univer- 
sals are mere terms or symbols, fictions of the mind fic- 
tionea, signa mentalia, nomine^ tigna verbalia. They are like 
images in a mirror. A universal stands for an intellectual 
act actus intelligenda and nothing more. Did ideas exist 
in God's mind as distinct entities, then the visible world would 
have been created out of them and not out of nothing. 2 

1 It lasted four years, Mttller, Ludwig der Baier, p. 208. 

2 Nullum universale est aliqua substantial extra animam existed, quoted by 
Seeberg, in Herzog, p. 269. Quoddam fictum existent objective in mente. 

192 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

Following Duns Scotus, Ockam taught determinism. 
God's absolute will makes things what they are. Christ 
might have become wood or stone if God had so chosen. 
In spite of Aristotle, a body might have different kinds of 
motion at the same time. In the department of morals, 
what is now bad might have been good, if God had so 
willed it. 

In the department of civil government, Ockam, advocating 
the position taken by the electors at Rense, 1338, declared 
the emperor did not need the confirmation of the pope. The 
imperial office is derived immediately from God. 1 The Church 
is a priestly institution, administers the sacraments and shows 
men the way of salvation, but has no civil jurisdiction, 2 potes- 
tas coactiva. 

The final seat of authority, this thinker found in the Scrip- 
tures. Truths such as the Trinity and the incarnation cannot 
be deduced by argument. The being of God cannot be proven 
from the so-called idea of God. A plurality of gods may be 
proven by the reason as well as the existence of the one God. 
Popes and councils may err. The Bible alone is inerrant. 
A Christian cannot be held to believe anything not in the 
Scriptures. 8 

The Church is the community of the faithful communitas, 
or congregatio fideliumt The Roman Church is not identical 
with it, and this body of Christians may exist independently 
of the Roman Church. If the pope had plenary power, the law 
of the Gospel would be more galling than the law of Moses. 

Werner, III. 116. The expression objective in mente is equivalent to our word 

1 Imperialis dignitas et potestas cst immediate a solo Deo. Goldast, IV. 90, 
Frankf. ed. See also Dorner, p. 675. 

2 Kropatscheck, p. 65 sq., Matt. 30:25 sqq. Clement VI. declared 
Ockam had sucked his political heresies from Mareiglius of Padua. 

8 See Riezler, p. 273, and Seeberg, pp. 271, 278, Christianus de necessitate 
salutis non tenetur ad credendum nee credere quod nee in bibha continetur 
nee ex solis contentis in biblia potest consequentia necessaria et manifesto, 

4 Itomana ecclesia eat distincta a congregations fldelium et potest contra 
fldem errare. Ecclesia autem universalis errare non potest. See Kropat- 
scheck, p. 65 eqq., and also Dorner, p. 606. 


All would then be the pope's slaves. 1 The papacy is not a 
necessary institution. 

In the doctrine of the eucharist, Ockam represents the 
traditional view as less probable than the view that Christ's 
body is at the side of the bread. This theory of impanation, 
which Rupert of Deutz taught, approached Luther's theory of 
consubstantiation. However, Ockam accepted the Church's 
view, because it was the less intelligible and because the power 
of God is unlimited. John of Paris, d. 1308, had compared 
the presence of Christ in the elements to the co-existence of 
two natures in the incarnation and was deposed from his 
chair at the University of Paris, 1304. Gabriel Biel took a 
similar view. 2 

Ockam's views on the authority of the civil power, papal 
errancy, the infallibility of the Scriptures and the eucharist 
are often compared with the views of Luther. 8 The German 
reformer spoke of the English Schoolman as " without doubt 
the leader and most ingenious of the Schoolmen" scholas- 
ticorum doctorum sine dubio princeps et ingeniosissimus. He 
called him his " dear teacher," and declared himself to be of 
Ockam's party sum Occamicce factionis.* The two men were, 
however, utterly unlike. Ockam was a theorist, not a reformer, 
and in spite of his bold sayings, remained a child of the 
mediaeval age. He started no party or school in theologi- 
cal matters. Luther exalted personal faith in the living 
Christ. He discovered new principles in the Scriptures, and 
made them the active forces of individual and national belief 
and practice. We might think of Luther as an Ockam if he 
had lived in the fourteenth century. We cannot think of 
Ockam as a reformer in the sixteenth century. He would 
scarcely have renounced monkery. Ockam's merit consists 
in this that, in common with Marsiglius and other leaders of 

1 See Werner, III. 120, who quotes Scaliger as saying of Ockain, omnium 
mortalium subtillissimus, cujus ingenium vetera subvertit, nova ad invictas 
insanias et incomprehensibiles subtditates fabricavit et conformavit. 

2 See Werner, D. hi. Thomas, III. Ill; Harnack, Dogmengesch., III. 494; 
Seeberg, 276. 

* For example, Kropatscheck, especially p. 66 sqq., and Seeberg, p. 289. 
Weimar, ed. VI. 183, 195, 600, as quoted by Seeberg. 

194 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

thought, he imbibed the new spirit of free discussion, and was 
bold enough to assail the traditional dogmas of his time. 
In this way he contributed to the unsettlement of the perni- 
cious mediaeval theory of the seat of authority. 

21. Catherine of Siena^ the Saint. 

Next to Francis d'Assisi, the most celebrated of the Italian 
saints is Catherine of Siena Caterina da Siena 1347-1380. 
With Elizabeth of Thuringia, who lived more than a century 
before her, she is the most eminent of the holy women of the 
Middle Ages whom the Church has canonized. Her fame de- 
pends upon her single-hearted piety and her efforts to advance 
the interests of the Church and her nation. She left no order 
to encourage the reverence for her name. She was the most 
public of all the women of the Middle Ages in Italy, and yet 
she passed unscathed and without a taint through streets and 
in courts. Now, as the daughter of an humble citizen of Siena, 
she ministers to the poor and the sick: now, as the prophetess 
of heaven, she appeals to the conscience of popes and of com- 
monwealths. Her native Sienese have sanctified her with the 
fragrant name la beata poplana, the blessed daughter of the 
people. Although much in her career, as it has been handed 
down by her confessor and biographer, may seem to be 
legendary, and although the hysterical element may not be 
altogether wanting from her piety, she yet deserves and will 
have the admiration of all men who are moved by the sight 
of a noble enthusiasm. It would require a fanatical severity 
to read the account of her unwearied efforts and the letters, 
into which she equally poured the fire of her soul, without 
feeling that the Sienese saint was a very remarkable woman, 
the Florence Nightingale of her time or more, " one of the most 
wonderful women that have ever lived," as her most recent 
English biographer has pronounced her. Or, shall we join 
Gregorovius, the thorough student of mediaeval Rome, in 
saying, " Catherine's figure flits like that of an angel: through 
the darkness of her time, over which her gracious genius 
sheds a soft radiance. Her life is more worthy and assuredly 


a more human subject for history than the lives of the popes 
of her age." 1 

Catherine Benincasa was the twenty-third of a family of 
twenty-five children. Her twin sister, Giovanna, died in in- 
fancy. Her father was a dyer in prosperous circumstances. 
Her mother, Monna Lapa, survived the daughter. Catherine 
treated her with filial respect, wrote her letters, several of 
which are extant, and had her with her on journeys and in 
Rome during her last days there. Catherine had no school 
training, and her knowledge of reading and writing she ac- 
quired after she was grown up. 

As a child she was susceptible to religious impressions, 
and frequented the Dominican church near her father's 
home. The miracles of her earlier childhood were reported 
by her confessor and biographer, Raymund of Capua. At 
twelve her parents arranged for her a marriage, but to avoid 
it Catherine cut off her beautiful hair. She joined the ter- 
tiary order of the Dominicans, the women adherents being 
called the mantellate from their black mantles. Raymuud 
declares " that nature had not given her a face over-fair," 
and her personal appearance was marred by the marks of 
the smallpox. And yet she had a winning expression, a 
fund of good spirits, and sang and laughed heartily. Once 
devoted to a religious life, she practised great austerities, 
flagellating herself three times a day, once for herself, 
once for the living and once for the dead. She wore a hair 
undergarment and an iron chain. During one Lenten sea- 
son she lived on the bread taken in communion. These asceti- 
cisms were performed in a chamber in her father's house. 
She was never an inmate of a convent. Such extreme asceti- 
cisms as she practised upon herself she disparaged at a later 

At an early age Catherine became the subject of visions 
and revelations. On one of these occasions and after hours 
of dire temptation, when she was tempted to live like other 
girls, the Saviour appeared to her stretched on the cross and 
said : " My own daughter, Catherine, seest thou how much I 

1 Gardner, p. vii ; Gregorovius, VI. 521 sqq. 

196 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

have suffered for thee ? Let it not be hard for thee to suffer 
for me." Thrilled with the address, she asked: "Where wert 
thou, Lord, when I was tempted with such impurity?" and He 
replied, "In thy heart." In 1367, according to her own 
statement, the Saviour betrothed himself to her, putting a 
ring on her finger. The ring was ever afterwards visible to 
herself though unseen by others. Five years before her death, 
she received the stigmata directly from Christ. Their im- 
pression gave sharp pain, and Catherine insisted that, though 
they likewise were invisible to others, they were real to her. 

In obedience to a revelation, Catherine renounced the 
retired life she had been living, and at the age of twenty 
began to appear in public and perform the active offices of 
charity. This was in 1367. She visited the poor and sick, 
and soon became known as the ministering angel of the 
whole city. During the plague of 1374, she was indefati- 
gable by day and night, healed those of whom the physicians 
despaired, and she even raised the dead. The lepers outside 
the city walls she did not neglect. 

One of the remarkable incidents in her career which she 
vouches for in one of her letters to Raymund was her treat- 
ment of Niccolo Tuldo, a young nobleman condemned to die 
for having uttered words disrespectful of the city govern- 
ment. The young man was in despair, but under Catherine's 
influence he not only regained composure, but became joyful 
in the prospect of death. Catherine was with him at the 
block and held his head. She writes, " I have just received 
a head into my hands which was to me of such sweetness as 
no heart can think, or tongue describe." Before the execu- 
tion she accompanied the unfortunate man to the mass, where 
he received the communion for the first time. His last words 
were " naught but Jesus and Catherine. And, so saying," 
wrote his benefactress, "I received his head in my hands." 
She then saw him received of Christ, and as she further 
wrote, " When he was at rest, my soul rested in peace, in so 
great fragrance of blood that I could not bear to remove the 
blood which had fallen on me from him." 

The fame of such a woman could not be held within the 


walls of her native city. Neighboring cities and even the 
pope in Avignon heard of her deeds of charity and her rev- 
elations. The guide of minds seeking the consolations of 
religion, the minister to the sick and dying, Catherine now 
entered into the wider sphere of the political life of Italy and 
the welfare of the Church. Her concern was divided between 
efforts to support the papacy and to secure the amelioration 
of the clergy and establish peace. With the zeal of a prophet, 
she urged upon Gregory XI. to return to Rome. She sought 
to prevent the rising of the Tuscan cities against the Avignon 
popes and to remove the interdict which was launched against 
Florence, and she supported Urban VI. against the anti-pope, 
Clement VII. With equal fervor she urged Gregory to insti- 
tute a reformation of the clergy, to allow no weight to consid- 
erations of simony and flattery in choosing cardinals and pastors 
and " to drive out of the sheep-fold those wolves, those demons 
incarnate, who think only of good cheer, splendid feasts and su- 
perb liveries." She also was zealous in striving to stir up the 
flames of a new crusade. To Sir John Hawkwood, the free- 
lance and terror of the peninsula, she wrote, calling upon him 
that, as he took such pleasure in fighting, he should thenceforth 
no longer direct his arms against Christians, but against the 
infidels. She communicated to the Queen of Cyprus on the 
subject. Again and again she urged it upon Gregory XI., 
and chiefly on the grounds that he " might minister the blood 
of the Lamb to the wretched infidels," and that converted, they 
might aid in driving pride and other vices out of the Christian 
world. 1 

Commissioned by Gregory, she journeyed to Pisa to influ- 
ence the city in his favor. She was received with honors by 
the archbishop and the head of jbhe republic, and won over two 
professors who visited her with the purpose of showing her 
she was self -deceived or worse. She told them that it was 
not important for her to know how God had created the world, 
but that " it was essential to know that the Son of God had 
taken our human nature and lived and died for our salva- 
tion." One of the professors, removing his crimson velvet 

* Scudder, Letters, pp. 100, 121, 136, 179, 184, 284, etc. 

198 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

cap, knelt before her and asked for forgiveness. Catherine's 
cures of the sick won the confidence of the people. On this 
visit she was accompanied by her mother and a group of like- 
minded women. 

A large chapter in Catherine's life is interwoven with the 
history of Florence. The spirit of revolt against the Avi- 
gnon regime was rising in upper Italy and, when the papal 
legate in Bologna, in a year of dearth, forbade the transpor- 
tation of provisions to Florence, it broke out into war. At 
the invitation of the Florentines, Catherine visited the city, 
1375 and, a year later, was sent as a delegate to Avignon 
to negotiate terms of peace. She was received with honor 
by the pope, but not without hesitancy. The other mem- 
bers of the delegation, when they arrived, refused to recog- 
nize her powers and approve her methods. The cardinals 
treated her coolly or with contempt, and women laid snares 
at her devotions to bring ridicule upon her. Such an at- 
tempt was made by the pope's niece, Madame de Beaufort 
Turenne, who knelt at her side and ran a sharp knife into 
her foot so that she limped from the wound. 

The dyer's daughter now turned her attention to the task 
of confirming the supreme pontiff in his purpose to return 
to Rome and counteract the machinations of the cardinals 
against its execution. Seeing her desire realized, she 
started back for Italy and, met by her mother at Leg- 
horn, went on to Florence, carrying a commission from the 
pope. Her effort to induce the city to bow to the sentence 
of interdict, which had been laid upon it, was in a measure 
successful. Her reverence for the papal office demanded 
passive obedience. Gregory's successor, Urban VI., lifted 
the ban. Catherine then returned to Siena where she dic- 
tated the Dialogue, a mystical treatise inculcating prayer, 
obedience, discretion and other virtues. Catherine declared 
that God alone had been her guide in its composition. 

In the difficulties, which arose soon after Urban's election, 
that pontiff looked to Siena and called its distinguished 
daughter to Rome. They had met in Avignon. Accom- 
panied by her mother and other companions, she reached 


the holy city in the Autumn of 1378. They occupied a 
house by themselves and lived upon alms. 1 Her summons 
to Urban " to battle only with the weapons of repentance, 
prayer, virtue and love" were not heeded. Her presence, 
however, had a beneficent influence, and on one occasion, 
when the mob raged and poured into the Vatican, she ap- 
peared as a peacemaker, and the sight of her face and her 
words quieted the tumult. 

She died lying on boards, April 29, 1380. To her com- 
panions standing at her side, she said : " Dear children, let 
not my death sadden you, rather rejoice to think that I am 
leaving a place of many sufferings to go to rest in the quiet 
sea, the eternal God, and to be united forever with my 
most sweet and loving Bridegroom. And I promise to be 
with you more and to be more useful to you, since I leave 
darkness to pass into the true and everlasting light." 
Again and again she whispered, " I have sinned, O Lord ; 
be merciful to me." She prayed for Urban, for the whole 
Church and for her companions, and then she departed, 
repeating the words, " Into thy hands I commit my spirit." 

At the time of her death Catherine of Siena was not yet 
thirty-three years old. A magnificent funeral was ordered 
by Urban. A year after, her head, enclosed in a reliquary, 
was sent to her native Siena, and in 1461 she was canon- 
ized by the city's famous son, pope Pius II., who uttered 
the high praise "that none ever approached her without 
going away better." In 1865 when Santa Maria sopra 
Minerva in Rome was reopened, her ashes were carried 
through the streets, the silver urn containing them being 
borne by four bishops. Lamps are kept ever burning at 
the altar dedicated to her in the church. In 1866 Pius IX. 
elevated the dyer's daughter to the dignity of patron saint 
and protectress of Rome, a dignity she shares with the 
prince of the Apostles. With Petrarch she had been the 
most ardent advocate of its claims as the papal residence, 
and her zeal was exclusively religious. 

1 Gardner, p. 298, says one of the two houses is still shown where they 

200 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

In her correspondence and Dialogue we have the biography 
of Catherine's soul. Nearly four hundred of her letters are 
extant. l Not only have they a place of eminence as the revela- 
tions of a saintly woman's thoughts and inner life, but are, next 
to the letters written by Petrarch, the chief specimens of 
epistolary literature of the fourteenth century. She wrote 
to persons of all classes, to her mother, the recluse in the 
cloister, her confessor, Raymund of Capua, to men and women 
addicted to the pleasures of the world, to the magistrates of 
cities, queens and kings, to cardinals, and to the popes, Greg- 
ory XI. and Urban VI., gave words of counsel, set forth at 
length measures and motives of action, used the terms of 
entreaty and admonition, and did not hesitate to employ 
threats of divine judgment, as in writing to the Queen of 
Naples. They abound in wise counsels. 

The correspondence shows that Catherine had some ac- 
quaintance with the New Testament from which she quotes 
the greater precepts and draws descriptions from the miracle of 
the water changed into wine and the expulsion of the money- 
changers from the temple and such parables as the ten virgins 
and the marriage-feast. One of her most frequent expressions 
is the blood of Christ, and in truly mystical or conventual 
manner she bids her correspondents, even the pope and the 
cardinals, bathe and drown and inebriate themselves in it, yea, 
to clothe and fill themselves with it, " for Christ did not buy 
us with gold or silver or pearls or other precious stones, but 
with his own precious blood." 2 

To Catherine the religious life was a subjection of the will 
to the will of God and the outgoing of the soul in exercises 
of prayer and the practice of love. " I want you to wholly 
destroy your own will that it may cling to Christ crucified." 
So she wrote to a mother bereft of her children. Writing 
to the recluse, Bartolomea della Seta, she represented the 
Saviour as saying, " Sin and virtue consist in the consent of 
the will, there is no sin or virtue unless voluntarily wrought." 

1 None of these are in her own hand, but six of them are originals as they 
were written down at her dictation. Gardner, p. xii., 373 sqq. 
* Letters, pp. 64, 65, 75, 110, 158, 164, 226, 263, 283, etc. 


To another she wrote, " I have already seen many penitents 
who have been neither patient nor obedient because they have 
studied to kill their bodies but not their wills." 1 

Her sound religious philosophy showed itself in insisting 
again and again that outward discipline is not the only or 
always the best way to secure the victory of the spirit. If 
the body is weak or fallen into illness, the rule of discretion 
sets aside the exercises of bodily discipline. She wrote, 
" Not only should fasting be abandoned but flesh be eaten and, 
if once a day is not enough, then four times a day." Again 
and again she treats of penance as an instrument. "The 
little good of penance may hinder the greater good of in- 
ward piety. Penance cuts off," so she wrote in a remarkable 
letter to Sister Daniella of Orvieto, "yet thou wilt always 
find the root in thee, ready to sprout again, but virtue pulls 
up by the root." 

Monastic as Catherine was, yet no evangelical guide-book 
could write more truly than she did in most particulars. 
And at no point does this noble woman rise higher than 
when she declined to make her own states the standard for 
others, and condemned those "who, indiscreetly, want to 
measure all bodies by one and the same measure, the meas- 
ure by which they measure themselves." Writing to her 
niece, Nanna Benincasa, she compared the heart to a lamp, 
wide above and narrow below. A bride of Christ must have 
lamp and oil and light. The heart should be wide above, 
filled with holy thoughts and prayer, bearing in memory the 
blessings of God, especially the blessing of the blood by 
which we are bought. And like a lamp, it should be narrow 
below, " not loving or desiring earthly things in excess nor 
hungering for more than God wills to give us." 

To the Christian virtues of prayer and love she contin- 
ually returns. Christian love is compared to the sea, peace- 
ful and profound as God Himself, for "God is love." This 
passage throws light upon the unsearchable mystery of the 
Incarnate Word who, constrained by love, gave Himself up 
in all humility. We love because we are loved. He loves 
i Letters, pp. 43, 102, 162, 149. 

202 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

of grace, and we love Him of duty because we are bound to 
do so; and to show our love to Him we ought to serve and 
love every rational creature and extend our love to good and 
bad, to all kinds of people, as much to one who does us ill as 
to one who serves us, for God is no respecter of persons, and 
His charity extends to just men and sinners. Peter's love 
before Pentecost was sweet but not strong. After Pentecost 
he loved as a son, bearing all tribulations with patience. So 
we, too, if we remain in vigil and continual prayer and tarry 
ten days, shall receive the plenitude of the Spirit. More 
than once in her letters to Gregory, she bursts out into a 
eulogy of love as the remedy for all evils. " The soul can- 
not live without love," she wrote in the Dialogue, " but must 
always love something, for it was created through love. 
Affection moves the understanding, as it were, saying, 4 1 
want to love, for the food wherewith I am fed is love. ' " l 

Such directions as these render Catherine's letters a valua- 
ble manual of religious devotion, especially to those who are 
on their guard against being carried away by the underly- 
ing quietistic tone. Not only do they have a high place as 
the revelation of a pious woman's soul. They deal with 
unconcealed boldness and candor with the low conditions 
into which the Church was fallen. Popes are called upon to 
institute reforms in the appointment of clergymen and to 
correct abuses in other directions. As for the pacification 
of the Tuscan cities, a cause which lay so close to Catherine's 
heart, she urged the pontiff to use the measures of peace and 
not of war, to deal as a father would deal with a rebellious son, 
to put into practice clemency, not the pride of authority. 
Then the very wolves would nestle in his bosom like lambs. 2 

As for the pope's return to Rome, she urged it as a duty 
he owed to God who had made him His vicar. In view of 
the opposition on the Rhone, almost holding him as by phys- 
ical force, she called upon him " to play the man," " to be a 
manly man, free from fear and fleshly love towards himself 
or towards any creature related to him by kin," " to be stable 

1 Scudder, Letters, pp. 81, 84, 126 sq.; Gardner, Life, p. 377. 
9 Letters, p. 133. 


in his resolution and to believe and trust in Christ in spite 
of all predictions of the evil to follow his return to Rome." * 
To this impassioned Tuscan woman, the appointment of un- 
worthy shepherds and bad rectors was responsible for the 
rebellion against papal authority, shepherds who, consumed 
by self-love, far from dragging Christ's sheep away from the 
wolves, devoured the very sheep themselves. It was because 
they did not follow the true Shepherd who has given His life 
for the sheep. Likening the Church to a garden, she invoked 
the pope to uproot the malodorous plants full of avarice, 
impurity and pride, to throw them away that the bad priests 
and rulers who poison the garden might no longer have rule. 
To Urban VI. she addressed burning words of condemna- 
tion. "Your sons nourish themselves on the wealth they 
receive by ministering the blood of Christ, and are not 
ashamed of being money-changers. In their great avarice 
they commit simonies, buying benefices with gifts or flat- 
teries or gold." And to the papal legate of Bologna, Car- 
dinal d'Estaing, she wrote, " make the holy father consider the 
loss of souls more than the loss of cities, for God demands 

The stress Catherine laid upon the pope's responsibility 
to God and her passionate reproof of an unworthy and hire- 
ling ministry, inclined some to give her a place among 
the heralds of the Protestant Reformation. Flacius Illyri- 
cus included her in the list of his witnesses for the truth 
Catalogue testium veritatis.* With burning warmth she 
spoke of a thorough -going reformation which was to come 
upon the Church. " The bride, now all deformed and clothed 
in rags," she exclaimed, " will then gleam with beauty and 
jewels, and be crowned with the diadem of all virtues. All 
believing nations will rejoice to have excellent shepherds, 
and the unbelieving world, attracted by her glory, will be 

1 Letters, pp. 66, 185, 232, etc. 

a Dttllinger, Fables and Prophecies of the Middle Ages, p. 330, calls atten- 
tion to the failure of Catherine's predictions to reach fulfilment. " How little 
have these longings of the devout maiden of Siena been transformed into 
history ! " 

204 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

converted unto her." Infidel peoples would be brought into 
the Catholic fold, ovile catholicum, and be converted 
unto the true pastor and bishop of souls. But Catherine, 
admirable as these sentiments were, moved within the limits 
of the mediaeval Church. She placed piety back of peni- 
tential exercises in love and prayer and patience, but she 
never passed beyond the ascetic and conventual conception 
of the Christian life into the open air of liberty through 
faith. She had the spirit of Savonarola, the spirit of fiery self- 
sacrifice for the well-being of her people and the regeneration 
of Christendom, but she did not see beyond the tradition of the 
past. Living a hundred years and more before the Floren- 
tine prophet, she was excelled by none in her own age and 
approached by none of her own nation in the century be- 
tween her and Savonarola, in passionate effort to save her 
people and help spread righteousness. Hers was the voice 
of the prophet, crying in the wilderness, " Prepare ye the way 
of the Lord.'' 

In recalling the women of the century from 1350 to 1450, 
the mind easily associates together Catherine of Siena and 
Joan of Arc, 1411-1431, one the passionate advocate of the 
Church, the other of the national honor of France. The 
Maid of Orleans, born of peasant parentage, was only twenty 
when she was burnt at the stake on the streets of Rouen, 1431. 
Differing from her Italian sister by comeliness of form and 
robustness of constitution, she also, as she thought, was the 
subject of angelic communications and divine guidance. Her 
unselfish devotion to her country at first brought it victory, 
but, at last, to her capture and death. Her trial by the Eng- 
lish on the charges of heresy and sorcery and her execution 
are a dark sheet among the pages of her century's history. 
Twenty-five years after her death, the pope revoked the 
sentence, and the French heroine, whose standard was 
embroidered with lilies and adorned with pictures of the 
creation and the annunciation, was beatified, 1909, and now 
awaits the crown of canonization from Rome. The exalted 
passion of these two women, widely as they differ in methods 
and ideals and in the close of their careers, diffuses a bright 


light over the selfish pursuits of their time, and makes the 
aims of many of its courts look low and grovelling. 

22. Peter d'Ailly, Ecclesiastical Statesman. 

One of the most prominent figures in the negotiations for 
the healing of the papal schism, as well as one of the fore- 
most personages of his age, was Peter d'Ailly, born in Com- 
piegne 1350, died in Avignon 1420. His eloquence, which 
reminds us of Bossuet and other French orators of the court 
of Louis XIV., won for him the title of the Eagle of France 
aquila Francia. 1 

In 1372 he entered the College of Navarre as a theologi- 
cal student, prepared a commentary on the Sentences of the 
Lombard three years later, and in 1380 reached the theologi- 
cal doctorate. He at once became involved in the measures 
for the healing of the schism, and in 1381 delivered a cele- 
brated address in the name of the university before the French 
regent, the duke of Anjou, to win the court for the policy of 
settling the papal controversy through a general council. 
His appeal not meeting with favor, he retired to Noyon, from 
which he wrote a letter purporting to come from the devil, 
a satire based on the continuance of the schism, in which 
the prince of darkness called upon his friends and vassals, 
the prelates, to follow his example in promoting division in 
the Church. He warned them as their overlord that the 
holding of a council might result in establishing peace and 
so bring eternal shame upon them. He urged them to con- 
tinue to make the Church a house of merchandise and to be 
careful to tithe anise and cummin, to make broad the bor- 
ders of their garments and in every other way to do as he 
had given them an example. 2 

In 1384 D'Ailly was made head of the College of Navarre, 
where he had Gerson for a pupil, and in 1389 chancellor of 
the university. 

1 Tschackert, Salembier and Finke consider D'Ailly under the three aspects 
of theologian, philosopher and ecclesiastical diplomatist Lenz and Bess em- 
phasize the part he played as an advocate of French policy against England. 

*JBpistola dtoboli leviathan. Ttchackert gives the text, Appendix, pp. 16-21. 

206 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

When Benedict XIII. was chosen successor to Clement 
VII., he was sent by the French king on a confidential 
mission to Avignon. Benedict won his allegiance and ap- 
pointed him successively bishop of Puy, 1395, and bishop of 
Cambray, 1397. D'Ailly was with Benedict at Genoa, 1405, 
and Savona, 1407, but by that time seems to have come to the 
conclusion that Benedict was not sincere in his profession of 
readiness to resign, and returned to Cambray. In his absence 
Cambray had decided for the subtraction of its allegiance 
from Avignon. D'Ailly was seized and taken to Paris, but 
protected by the king, who was his friend. Thenceforth he 
favored the assemblage of a general council. 

At Pisa and at Constance, D'Ailly took the position that 
a general council is superior to the pope and may depose 
him. Made a cardinal by John XXIII., 1411, he attended 
the council held at Rome the following year and in vain 
tried to have a reform of the calendar put through. At 
Constance, he took the position that the Pisan council, 
though it was called by the Spirit and represented the 
Church universal, might have erred, as did other councils 
reputed to be general councils. He declared that the three 
synods of Pisa, Rome and Constance, though not one body, 
yet were virtually one, even as the stream of the Rhine at 
different points is one and the same. It was not necessary, 
so he held, for the Council of Constance to pass acts confirm- 
ing the Council of Pisa, for the two were on a par. 1 

In the proceedings against John XXIII., the cardinal took 
sides against him. He was the head of the commission which 
tried Huss in matters of faith, June 7, 8, 1415, and was present 
when the sentence of death was passed upon that Reformer. 
At the close of the council he appears as one of the three 
candidates for the office of pope, and his defeat was a disap- 
pointment to the French. 2 He was appointed legate by 

1 These judgments are expressed in the Capita agendorum, a sort of 
programme for the guidance of the council prepared by D'Ailly, 1414. Finke, 
Forschungcn, pp. 102-132, has no doubt that they proceeded from D'Ailly's 
pen, a view confirmed by MSS. in Vienna and Rome. Finke gives a resume* 
of the articles, the original of which is given by van der Hardt., II. 201 sqq. 
and Mansi, XXVII. 647. * Tschackert, p. 205. 

23. JOHN GERSON. 207 

Martin V., with his residence at Avignon, and spent his last 
days there. 

D'Ailly followed Ockam as a nominalist. To his writings 
in the departments of philosophy, theology and Church gov- 
ernment he added works on astronomy and geography and 
a much-read commentary on Aristotle's meteorology. 1 His 
work on geography, The Picture of the World, imago mundi, 
written 1410, was a favorite book with Columbus. A 
printed copy of it containing marginal notes in the navi- 
gator's own hand is preserved in the biblioteca Colombina, 
Seville. This copy he probably had with him on his third 
journey to America, for, in writing from Hayti, 1498, he 
quoted at length the eighth chapter. Leaning chiefly upon 
Roger Bacon, the author represented the coast of India or 
Cathay as stretching far in the direction of Europe, so that, 
in a favorable wind, a ship sailing westwards would reach it 
in a few days. This idea was in the air, but it is possible 
that it was first impressed upon the mind of the discoverer 
of the New World by the reading of D'Ailly's work. Hum- 
boldt was the first to show its value for the history of dis- 
covery. 2 

23. John G-erwn, Theologian and Church Leader. 

In John Gerson, 1363-1429, we have the most attractive 
and the most influential theological leader of the first half 
of the fifteenth century. He was intimately identified with 
the University of Paris as professor and as its chancellor 
in the period of its most extensive influence in Europe. 
His voice carried great weight in the settlement of the 
questions rising out of the papal schism. 

Jean Charlier Gerson, born Dec. 14, 1363, in the village 
of Gerson, in the diocese of Rheims, was the oldest of twelve 
children. In a letter to him still extant, 8 his mother, a godly 
woman, pours out her heart in the prayer that her children 
may live in unity with each other and with God. Two of 
John's brothers became ecclesiastics. In 1377 Gerson went 

1 Tschackert gives an estimate of D'Ailly's writings, pp. 303-335. 

* See Fiske, Discovery of America, I. 872. Schwab, p. 61. 

208 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

to Paris, entering the College of Navarre. This college was 
founded by Johanna, queen of Navarre, 1304, who provided 
for 3 departments, the arts with 20 students, philosophy with 
30 and theology with 20 students. Provision was made also 
for their support, 4 Paris sous weekly for the artists, 6 for the 
logicians and 8 for the theologians. These allowances were 
to continue until the graduates held benefices of the value 
respectively of 30, 40 and 60 pounds. The regulations al- 
lowed the theological students a fire, daily, from November to 
March after dinner and supper for one half-hour. The luxury 
of benches was forbidden by a commission appointed by Ur- 
ban V. in 1366. On the festival days, the theologians were 
expected to deliver a collation to their fellow-students of the 
three classes. The rector at the head of the college, origi- 
nally appointed by the faculty of the university, was now ap- 
pointed by the king's confessor. The students wore a special 
dress and the tonsure, spoke Latin amongst themselves and 
ate in common. 

Gerson, perhaps the most distinguished name the Univer- 
sity of Paris has on its list of students, was a faithful and en- 
thusiastic son of his alma mater, calling her " his mother," 
" the mother of the light of the holy Church," " the nurse of 
all that is wise and good in Christendom," " a prototype 
of the heavenly Jerusalem," "the fountain of knowledge, 
the lamp of our faith, the beauty and ornament of France, 
yea, of the whole world." l 

In 1382, at the age of nineteen, he passed into the theo- 
logical department, and a year later came under the guidance 
of D'Ailly, the newly appointed rector, remaining under him 
for seven years. Gerson was already a marked man, and was 
chosen in 1383 procurator of the French "nation," and in 
1387 one of the delegation to appear before Clement VII. and 
argue the case against John of Montson. This Dominican, 
who had been condemned for denying the immaculate con- 
ception of Mary, refused to recant on the plea that in being 
condemned Thomas Aquinas was condemned, and he appealed 
to the pope, The University of Paris took up the case, and 

i Schwab, p. 6&. 

23. JOHN GEKSON. 209 

D'Ailly in two addresses before the papal consistory took the 
ground that Thomas, though a saint, was not infallible. The 
case went against De Montson ; and the Dominicans, who re- 
fused to bow to the decision, left the university and did not 
return till 1403. 

Gerson advocated Mary's exemption from original as well 
as actual sin, and made a distinction between her and Christ, 
Christ being exempt by nature, and Mary domino, nostra 
by an act of divine grace. This doctrine, he said, cannot be 
immediately derived from the Scriptures, 1 but, as the Apostles 
knew more than the prophets, so the Church teachers know 
some things the Apostles did not know. 

At D'Ailly's promotion to the episcopate, 1395, his pupil fell 
heir to both his offices, the offices of professor of theology 
and chancellor of the university. In the discussion over the 
healing of the schism in which the university took the lead- 
ing part, he occupied a place of first prominence, and by tracts, 
sermons and public memorials directed the opinion of the 
Church in this pressing matter. The premise from which lie 
started out was that the peace of the Church is an essential 
condition to the fulfilment of its mission. This view he set 
forth in a famous sermon, preached in 1404 at Tarascon be- 
fore Benedict XIII. and the duke of Orleans. Princes and 
prelates, he declared, both owe obedience to law. The end 
for which the Church was constituted is the peace and well- 
being of men. All Church authority is established to sub- 
serve the interests of peace. Peace is so great a boon that 
all should be ready to renounce dignities and position for it. 
Did not Christ suffer shame ? Better for a while to be with- 
out a pope than that the Church should observe the canons 
and not have peace, for there can be salvation where there 
is no pope. 2 A general council should be convened, and it 
was pious to believe that in the treatment of the schism it 

1 In scriptura sacra neque continetur explicite neque in contentis eadem 
educitnr evidenter, Du Pin's ed. III. 1350. For sermons on the concep- 
tion, nativity and annunciation of the Virgin, vol. III. 1317-1377. Also III. 
041, and Du Pin's Gfersoniana, I. cviii. sq. 

2 Potest absque papa mortali stare salus, Du Pin, II. 72. The Tarascon 
sermon is given by Du Pin, II. 64-72. Schwab's analysis, pp. 171-178. 


210 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

would not err pium est credere non erraret. As Schwab 
has said, no one had ever preached in the same way to a pope 
before. The sermon caused a sensation. 

Gerson, though not present at the council of Pisa, contrib- 
uted to its discussions by his important tracts on the Unity 
of the Church De unitate ecclesiastica and theilemoval of 
a Pope De auferbilitate papce ab ecclesia. The views set forth 
were that Christ is the head of the Church, and its monarchi- 
cal constitution is unchangeable. There must be one pope, 
not several, and the bishops are not equal in authority with 
him. As the pope may separate himself from the Church, 
so the Church may separate itself from the pope. Such ac- 
tion might be required by considerations of self-defence. The 
papal office is of God, and yet the pope may be deposed even 
by a council called without his consent. All Church offices 
and officials exist for the good of the Church, that is, for the 
sake of peace which comes through the exercise of love. If 
a pope has a right to defend himself against, say, the charge 
of unchastity, why should not the Church have a like right 
to defend itself? A council acts under the immediate author- 
ity of Christ and His laws. The council may pronounce 
against a pope by virtue of the power of the keys which is 
given not only to one but to the body unitati. Aristotle de- 
clared that the body has the right, if necessary, to depose its 
prince. So may the council, and whoso rejects a council of 
the Church rejects God who directs its action. A pope may 
be deposed for heresy and schism, as, for example, if he did not 
bend the knee before the sacrament, and he might be deposed 
when no personal guilt was chargeable against him, as in the 
case already referred to, when he was a captive of the Sara- 
cens and was reported dead. 

At the Council of Constance, where Gerson spoke as the 
delegate of the French king, he advocated these positions 
again and again with his voice, as in his address March 23, 
1415, and in a second address July 21, when he defended the 
decree which the synod had passed at its fifth session. He 
reasserted that the pope may be forced to abdicate, that gen- 
eral councils are above the popes and that infallibility only 

23. JOHN GERSON. 211 

belongs to the Church as a body or its highest representative, 
a general council. 1 

A blot rests upon Gerson's name for the active part he took 
in the condemnation of John Huss. He was not aboye his 
age, and using the language of Innocent III. called heresy a 
cancer. 3 He declares that he was as zealous in the proceedings 
against Huss and Wyclif as any one could be. 8 He pro- 
nounced the nineteen errors drawn from Huss' work on the 
Church " notoriously heretical." Heresy, he declared, if it is 
obstinate, must be destroyed even by the deatli of its profess- 
ors. 4 He denied Huss' fundamental position that nothing 
is to be accepted as divine truth which is not found in Scrip- 
ture. Gerson also condemned the appeal to conscience, ex- 
plicitly assuming the old position of Church authority and 
canon law as final. The opinions of an individual, however 
learned he may be in the Scriptures, have no weight before 
the judgment of a council. 6 

In the controversy over the withdrawal of the cup from 
the laity, involved in the Bohemian heresy, Gerson also took 
an extreme position, defending it by arguments which seem 
to us altogether unworthy of a genuine theology. In a tract 
on the subject he declared that, though some passages of 
Scripture and of the Fathers favored the distribution of both 
wine and bread, they do not contain a definite command, and 
in the cases where an explicit command is given it must be 
understood as applying to the priests who are obliged to com- 
mune under both kinds so as to fully represent Christ's suf- 
ferings and death. But this is not required of the laity who 
commune for the sake of the effect of Christ's death and not 
to set it forth. Christ commanded only the Apostles to par- 
take of both kinds. 6 The custom of lay communion was never 
universal, as is proved by Acts 2 : 42, 46. The essence of 

1 See Schwab, pp. 520 sqq., 668. 

a In a sermon before the Council of Constance, Du Pin, II. 207. 
8 Dialog, apologet., Du Pin, II. 387. 

4 Adpunitionem et exterminationem errantium, Du Pin, II. 277. 
* See Schwab, pp. 699, 601. 

6 Contra heresin de communion* laicorum sub utraque specie, Du Pin, 
I. 457-468. See Schwab, p. 604 sqq. 

212 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

the sacrament of the body and blood is more important than 
the elements, John 6 : 54. But the whole Christ is in either 
element, and, if some of the doctors take a different view, the 
Church's doctrine is to be followed, and not they. From time 
immemorial the Church has given the communion only in one 
form. The Council of Constance was right in deciding that 
only a single element is necessary to a saving participation 
in the sacrament. The Church may make changes in the 
outward observance when the change does not touch the es- 
sence of the right in question. The use of the two elements, 
once profitable, is now unprofitable and heretical. 

To these statements Gerson added practical considerations 
against the distribution of the cup to laymen, such as the dan- 
ger of spilling the wine, of soiling the vessels from the long 
beards of laymen, of having the wine turn to vinegar, if it be 
preserved for the sick and so it cease to be the blood of Christ 
et ita desineret esse sanguis Christi and from the impos- 
sibility of consecrating in one vessel enough for 10,000 to 
20,000 communicants, as at Easter time may be necessary. 
Another danger was the encouragement such a practice would 
give to the notions that priest and layman are equal, and that 
the chief value of the sacrament lies in the participation and 
not in the consecration of the elements. 1 Such are some of 
the " scandals " which this renowned teacher ascribed to the 
distribution of the cup to the laity. 

A subject on which Gerson devoted a great deal of energy 
for many years was whether the murder of tyrants or of a 
traitorous vassal is justifiable or not. He advocated the 
negative side of the case, which he failed to win before the 
Council of Constance. The question grew out of the treat- 
ment of the half -insane French king, Charles VI. (1380-1422), 
and the attempt of different factions to get control of the 

On Nov. 23, 1407, the king's cousin, Louis, duke of Orleans, 
was murdered at the command of the king's uncle, John, 
duke of Burgundy. The duke's act was defended by the 

1 Quod virtus hujus sacramenti non e*t principalius in consecratione quam 
in sumptione, Du Pin, L 467. 

23. JOHN GEE80N. 213 

Franciscan and Paris professor, John Petit, Johannes Par- 
vus, in an address delivered before the king March 8, 1408. 
Gerson, who at an earlier time seems to have advocated the 
murder of tyrants, answered Petit in a public address, and 
called upon the king to suppress Pe tit's nine propositions. 1 
The University of Paris made Gerson's cause its own. Petit 
died in 1411, but the controversy went on. Petit's theory 
was this, that every vassal plotting against his lord is deserv- 
ing of death in soul and body. He is a tyrant, and accord- 
ing to the laws of nature and God any one has the right to 
put him out of the way. The higher such a person is in rank, 
the more meritorious is the deed. He based his argument 
upon Thomas Aquinas, John of Salisbury, Aristotle, Cicero 
and other writers, and referred to Moses, Zambri and St. 
Michael who cast Lucifer out of heaven, and other examples. 
The duke of Orleans was guilty of treason against the king, 
and the duke of Burgundy was justified in killing him. 

The bishop of Paris, supported by a commission of the In- 
quisition and at the king's direction, condemned Petit and his 
views. In February, 1414, Gerson made a public address de- 
fending the condemnation, and two days later articles taken 
from Petit's work were burnt in front of Notre Dame. The 
king ratified the bishop's judgment, and the duke of Burgundy 
appealed the case to Rome. 2 

The case was now transferred to the council, which at its 
fifteenth session, July 6, 1415, passed a compromise measure 
condemning the doctrine that a tyrant, in the absence of a 
judicial sentence, may and ought to be put to death by any 
subject whatever, even by the use of treacherous means, and 
in the face of an oath without committing perjury. Petit was 
not mentioned by name. It was this negative and timid ac- 
tion, which led Gerson to say that if Huss had had a defender, 
lie would not have been found guilty. It was rumored that 

1 Vol. V. of Gerson's works is taken up with documents bearing on this 
subject Gerson's addresses, bearing upon it at Constance, are given in vol. II. 
See Schwab, p. 609 sqq., and Bess, Zur Geschichte, etc. The Chartulariwm, 
IV. 261-286, 326 sqq., gives the nine propositions in French, with Gerson's 
reply, and other matter pertaining to the controversy. 2 Schwab, p. 620. 

214 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

the commission which was appointed to bring in a report, by 
sixty-one out of eighty votes, decided for the permissibility 
of Petit's articles declaring that Peter meant to kill the high 
priest's servant, and that, if he had known Judas' thoughts 
at the Last Supper, he would have been justified in killing 
him. The duke of Burgundy's gold is said to have been 
freely used. 1 The party led by the bishop of Arras argued 
that the tyrant who takes the sword is to be punished with the 
sword. Gerson, who was supported by D'Ailly replied that 
then the command " thou shalt not kill " would only forbid such 
an act as murder, if there was coupled with it an inspired gloss, 
"without judicial authority." The command means, "thou 
shalt not kill the innocent, or kill out of revenge." Gerson 
pressed the matter for the last time in an address delivered be- 
fore the council, Jan. 17, 1417, but the council refused to go 
beyond the decree of the fifteenth session. 

The duke of Burgundy got possession of Paris in 1418, and 
Gerson found the doors of France closed to him. Under the 
protection of the duke of Bavaria he found refuge at Ratten- 
berg and later in Austria. On the assassination of the duke 
of Burgundy himself, with the connivance of the dauphin, 
Sept. 10, 1419, he returned to France, but not to Paris. He 
went to Lyons, where his brother John was, and spent his last 
years there in monastic seclusion. The dauphin is said to have 
granted him 200 livres in 1420 in recognition of his services to 
the crown. 

It remains to speak of Gerson as a theologian, a preacher 
and a patriot. 

In the department of theology proper Gerson has a place 
among the mystics. 2 Mysticism he defines as " the art of love," 
the " perception of God through experience. " Such experience 
is reached by humility and penance more than through the path 
of speculation. The contemplative life is most desirable, but, 

1 Mansi, XXVII. 765, Quilibet tyrannus potest et debet licite et meritortc 
occidi per quemcumque . . . non expectata sententta vel mandate judicis 
cuiuseumque. For D'Ailly 's part, see Tschackert, pp. 235-247. 

2 Gerson's mysticism is presented in such tracts as De vita spirituali anima 
and De monte contemplations, Da Pin, III. 1-77, 541-579. 

23. JOHN GERSON. 215 

following Christ's example, contemplation must be combined 
with action. The contemplation of God consists of knowledge 
as taught in John 17 : 3, " This is life eternal, to know Thee 
and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." Such knowledge is 
mingled with love. The soul is one with God through love. 
His mysticism was based, on the one hand, on the study of the 
Scriptures and, on the other, on the study of Bonaventura and 
the St. Victors. He wrote a special treatise in praise of Bona- 
ventura and his mystical writings. Far from having any con- 
scious affinity with the German mystics, he wrote against John 
of Ruysbroeck and Ruysbroeck's pupil, John of Schdnhofen, 
charging them with pantheism. 

While Gerson emphasized the religious feelings, he was far 
from being a religious visionary and wrote treatises against the 
dangers of delusion from dreams and revelations. As coins 
must be tested by their weight, hardness, color, shape and 
stamp, so visions are to be tested by the humility and honesty 
of those who profess to have them and their readiness to teach 
and be taught. He commended the monk who, when some one 
offered to show him a figure like Christ, replied, " I do not want 
to see Christ on the earth. I am contented to wait till I see 
him in heaven." 

When the negotiations were going on at the Council of Con- 
stance for the confirmation of the canonization of St. Brigitta, 
Gerson laid down the principle that, if visions reveal what is 
already in the Scriptures, 1 then they are false, for God does 
not repeat Himself, Job 33 : 14. People have itching ears for 
revelations because they do not study the Bible. Later he 
warned 2 against the revelations of women, as women are more 
open to deception than men. 

The Scriptures, Gerson taught, are the Church's rule and 
guide to the end of the world. If a single statement should 
be proved false, then the whole volume is false, for the Holy 
Spirit is author of the whole. The letter of the text, however, 
is not sufficient to determine their meaning, as is proved from 

1 In his De probations spirituum, Du Pin, I. 37-43; and De distinctions 
verarum visionum a falsis, Du Pin, I. 43-69. 

8 De examinations doctrinarum, Du Pin, I. 7-22. 

216 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

the translations of the Waldenses, Beghards and other sec- 
taries. 1 The text needs the authority of the Church, as Augus- 
tine indicated when he said, " I would not believe the Gospel 
if the authority of the Church did not compel me." 

Great as Gerson's services were in other departments, it was, 
to follow his sympathetic and scholarly biographer, Schwab, 
from the pulpit that he exercised most influence on his gener- 
ation. 2 He preached in French as well as Latin, and his ser- 
mons had, for the most part, a practical intent, being occupied 
with ethical themes such as pride, idleness, anger, the command- 
ments of the Decalogue, the marital state. He held that the 
ordinary priest should confine himself to a simple explanation 
of the Decalogue, the greater sins and the articles of faith. 

During the last ten years of his life, spent in seclusion at 
Lyons, he continued his literary activity, writing more partic- 
ularly in the vein of mystical theology. His last work was 
on the Canticles. 

The tradition runs that the great teacher in his last years 
conducted a catechetical school for children in St. Paul's at 
Lyons, and that he taught them to offer for himself the daily 
prayer, " God, my creator, have pity upon Thy poor servant, 
Jean Gerson " Mon Dieu^ mon Createur, ayez pitit de vostre 
pauvre serviteur, Jean Gerson. 3 It was for young boys and per- 
haps for boys spending their first years in the university that 
he wrote his tractate entitled Leading Children to Christ. 4 It 
opens with an exposition of the words, " Suffer little children 
to come unto me " and proceeds to show how much more seemly 
it is to offer to God our best in youth than the dregs of sickly 

1 Si propositio aliqua s. scripturce posita assertive per auctorem suum, 
qui est Sp. sanctus, esset falsa, tota 8. scripturce vacillaret auctoritas, quoted 
by Schwab, p. 314. 

2 Gerson hatte seine einflussreiche Stellung vorzuyxweise dem Eufe zu 
danken den er als Prediger genoss, Schwab, p. 376. 

8 See Schwab, p. 773, who neither accepts nor rejects the tradition. Dr. 
Philip Schaff used to bring the last literary activity of President Theodore D. 
Wolsey, of Yale College, into comparison with the activity of Gerson. In his 
last years Dr. Wolsey wrote the expositions of the Sunday school lessons for 
the Sunday School Times. 

* De parvulis ad Christum trahendis, written according to Schwab, 1409- 
1412, Du Pin, HI. 278-291. 

23, JOHN GERSOIT. 217 

old age. The author takes up the sins children should be ad- 
monished to avoid, especially unchastity, and holds up to repro- 
bation the principle that vice is venial if it is kept secret, the 
principle expressed in the words si non caste tamen caute. 

In a threefold work, giving a brief exposition of the Ten 
Commandments, a statement of the seven mortal sins and some 
short meditations on death and the way to meet it, Gerson 
gives a sort of catechism, although it is not thrown into the 
form of questions and answers. As the author states, it was 
intended for the benefit of poorly instructed curates who heard 
confessions, for parents who had children to instruct, for per- 
sons not interested in the public services of worship and for 
those who had the care of the sick in hospitals. 1 

The title, most Christian doctor doctor chriatianissimua 
given to John Gerson is intended to emphasize the evangeli- 
cal temper of his teaching. To a clear intellect, he added warm 
religious fervor. With a love for the Church, which it would 
be hard to find excelled, he magnified the body of Christian 
people as possessing the mind and immediate guidance of Christ 
and threw himself into the advocacy of the principle that the 
judgment of Christendom, as expressed in a general council, 
is the final authority of religious matters on the earth. 

He opposed some of the superstitions inherited from another 
time. He emphasized the authority of the sacred text. In 
these views as in others he was in sympathy with the progress- 
ive spirit of his age. But he stopped short of the principles of 
the Reformers. He knew nothing of the principles of individ- 
ual sovereignty and the rights of conscience. His thinking 
moved along churchly lines. He had none of the bold original 
thought of Wyclif and little of that spirit which sets itself 
against the current errors of the times in which we live. His 
vote for Huss' burning proves sufficiently that the light of 
the new age had not dawned upon his mind. He was not, 
like them, a forerunner of the movement of the sixteenth 

1 Opusculum tripartitum: depreceptis decalogi, de confessione, et de arte 
moriendi, Du Pin, I., 426-450. Bess, in Herzog, VI. 615, calls it " the first 

218 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

The chief principle for which Gerson contended, the suprem- 
acy of general councils, met with defeat soon after the great 
chancellor's death, and was set aside by popes and later by the 
judgment of a general council. His writings, however, which 
were frequently published remain the chief literary monuments 
in the department of theology of the first half of the fourteenth 
century. 1 Separated from the Schoolmen in spirit and method, 
he stands almost in a class by himself, the most eminent theolo- 
gian of his century. This judgment is an extension of the 
judgment of the eminent German abbot and writer, Tritheraius, 
at the close of the fifteenth century: " He was by far the chief 
divine of his age " 2 Theologorum sui temporis longe princeps. 

24. Nicolas of Clamanges^ the Moralist. 

The third of the great luminaries who gave fame to the 
University of Paris in this period, Nicolas Poillevillain de 
Clamanges, was born at Clamengis, 8 Champagne, about 1367 
and died in Paris about 1437. Shy by nature, he took a less 
prominent part in the settlement of the great questions of 
the age than his contemporaries, D'Ailly and Gerson. Like 
them, he was identified with the discussions called forth by 
the schism, and is distinguished for the high value he put on 
the study of the Scriptures and his sharp exposition of the 
corruption of the clergy. He entered the College of Navarre 
at twelve, and had D'Ailly and Gerson for his teachers. In 
theology he did not go beyond the baccalaureate. It is prob- 
able he was chosen rector of the university 1393. With 
Peter of Monsterolio, he was the chief classical scholar of 
the university and was able to write that in Paris, Virgil, 
Terence and Cicero were often read in public and in private. 4 

In 1394, Clamanges took a prominent part in preparing the 

1 The first complete edition of Gerson 9 s writings appeared from the press of 
John Koelhoff. 4 vols. Cologne, 1483, 1484. The celebrated preacher, Geiler 
of Strassburg, edited a second edition 1488. 2 Schwab, p. 779, note. 

8 The spelling given by Denifie in the Chartularium. 

4 Chartul. III. pp. 6, zi. In the Chartularium Clamanges always appears 
as a member of the faculty of the arts, III. 606, etc. 


paper, setting forth the conclusions of the university in regard 
to the healing of the schism. 1 It was addressed to the " most 
Christian king, Charles VI., most zealous of religious orthodoxy 
by his daughter, the university. " This, the famous document 
suggesting the three ways of healing the schism, by abdica- 
tion, arbitration and by a general council, is characterized 
by firmness and moderation, two of the elements prominent in 
Clamanges' character. It pronounced the schism pestiferous, 
and in answer to the question who would give the council its 
authority, it answered : " The communion of all the faithful 
will give it; Christ will give it, who said: 4 Where two or three 
are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of 

The Paris professor was one of the men whom the keen- 
eyed Peter de Luna picked out, and when he was elected pope, 
Clamanges supported him and wrote appealing to him, as the 
one who no longer occupied the position of one boatman among 
others, but stood at the rudder of the ship, to act in the interest 
of all Christendom. He was called as secretary to the Avi- 
gnon court, but became weary of the commotion and the vices 
of the palace and the town. 2 In 1406, he seems to have with- 
drawn from Benedict at Genoa and retired to Langres, where 
he held a canon's stall. He did not, however, break with the 
pope, and, when Benedict in 1408 issued the bull threaten- 
ing the French court with excommunication, Clamanges was 
charged with being its author. He denied the charge, but the 
accusation of want of patriotism had made a strong impression, 
and he withdrew to the Carthusian convent, Valprofonds, and 
later to Fontaine du Bosc. His seclusion he employed in writ- 
ing letters and treatises and in the study of the Bible which he 
now expressed regret for having neglected in former years for 
classical studies. 

To D' Ailly he wrote on the advantages of a secluded life. 
Defructu eremi. In another tract Defructu rerum adver- 
sarum he presented the advantages of adversity. One of 

1 Chartul., III. 617-624. 

3 Tcedebat me vehementer curte, tcedebat turb&, tadebat tumultua, tcedebat 
ambitionia et morwn in plerisque vitiosorum, he wrote. Quoted by Knopfler. 

220 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

more importance complained of the abuse of the Lord's Day 
and of the multiplication of festivals as taking the workman 
from his work while the interests of piety were not advanced. 
In still another tract De studio theologico addressed to a 
theologian at Paris who had inquired whether it was better 
for him to continue where he was or to retire to a pastorate, 
he emphasized the importance and delicacy of caring for souls, 
but advised the inquirer to remain at the university and to con- 
cern himself chiefly with the study of the Scriptures. He 
ascribed the Church's decline to their neglect, and pronounced 
the mass, processionals and festivals as of no account unless 
the heart be purified by faith. 

During the sessions of the Council of Constance, which he 
did not attend, Clamanges sent a letter to that body urging 
unity of thought and action. He expressed doubt whether 
general councils were always led by the Holy Spirit. The 
Church, which he defined as infallible, is only there where the 
Holy Spirit is, and where the Church is, can be only known 
to God Himself. In 1425 he returned to Paris and lectured 
on rhetoric and theology. 

Clamanges' reputation rests chiefly upon his sharp criticism 
of the corrupt morals of the clergy. His residence in Avignon 
gave him a good opportunity for observation. His tract on 
the prelates who were practising simony De prcesulibus simo- 
niacis is a commentary on the words, " But ye have made it 
a den of thieves," Matt. 21 : 13. A second tract on the down- 
fall of the Church De ruina ecclesice is one of the most 
noted writings of the age. Here are set forth the simony and 
private vices practised at Avignon where all things holy were 
prostituted for gold and luxury. Here is described the cor- 
ruption of the clergy from the pope down to the lowest class 
of priests. The author found ideal conditions in the first cen- 
tury, when the minds of the clergy were wholly set on heavenly 
things. With possessions and power came avarice and ambi- 
tion, pride and luxury. The popes themselves were guilty of 
pride in exalting their authority above that of the empire and 
by asserting for themselves the right of appointing all prelates, 
yea of filling all the benefices of Christendom. The evils aris- 


ing from annates and expectances surpass the power of state- 
ment. The cardinals followed the popes in their greed and 
pride, single cardinals having as many as 500 livings. In order 
to perpetuate their " tyranny," pope and curia had entered into 
league with princes, which Clamanges pronounces an abomina- 
ble fornication. Many of the bishops drew large incomes from 
their sees which they administered through others, never visit- 
ing them themselves. Canons and vicars followed the same 
course and divided their time between idleness and sensual 
pleasure. The mendicant monks corresponded to the Phari- 
sees of the synagogue. Scarcely one cleric out of a thousand 
did what his profession demanded. They were steeped in 
ignorance and given to brawling, drinking, playing with dice 
and fornication. Priests bought the privilege of keeping con- 
cubines. As for the nuns, Clamanges said, he dared not speak 
of them. Nunneries were not the sanctuaries of God, but 
shameful brothels of Venus, resorts of unchaste and wanton 
youth for the sating of their passions, and for a girl to put on 
the veil was virtually to submit herself to prostitution. 1 The 
Church was drunken with the lust of power, glory and pleasures. 
Judgment was sure to come, and men should bow humbly be- 
fore God who alone could rectify the evils and put an end to 
the schism. Descriptions such as these must be used with dis- 
crimination, and it would be wrong to deduce from them that 
the entire clerical body was corrupt. The diseases, however, 
must have been deep-seated to call forth such a lament from a 
man of Clamanges' position. 

The author did not call to open battle like the German Re- 
former at a later time, but suggested as a remedy prayers, pro- 
cessions and fasts. His watchword was that the Church must 
humble itself before it can be rebuilt. 3 It was, however, a 

1 Quid aliud sunt hoc tempore puellarum monasteria, nisi qucedam, non 
dico Dei sanctuaria sed execranda prostibula Veneris . . . ut idem hodie sit 
puellam velare quod adpublice scortandum exponere, Hardt, I. 38. 

8 Secies, priits humilianda quam erigenda. The authorship of the De ruina 
has been made a matter of dispute. Muntz denied it to Clamanges chiefly on 
the ground of its poor Latin and Knopfler is inclined to follow him. On the 
other hand Schuberth and Schwab, followed somewhat hesitatingly by Bess, 
accept the traditional view. Schwab brings out the similarity between the De 

222 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

bold utterance and forms an important part of that body of 
literature which so powerfully moulded opinion at the time of 
the Reformatory councils. 

The loud complaints against the state of morals at the papal 
court and beyond during the Avignon period increased, if possi- 
ble, in strength during the time of the schism. The list of 
abuses to be corrected which the Council of Constance issued, 
Oct. 30, 1417, includes the official offences of the curia, such 
as reservations, annates, the sale of indulgences and the un- 
restricted right of appeals to the papal court. The subject of 
chastity it remained for individual writers to press. In de- 
scribing the third Babylon, Petrarch was even more severe than 
Clamanges who wrote of conditions as they existed nearly a 
century later and accused the papal household of practising 
adultery, rape and all manners of fornication. 1 Clamanges 
declared that many parishes insisted upon the priests keeping 
concubines as a precaution in defence of their own families. 
Against all canonical rules John XXIII. gave a dispensation 
to the illegitimate son of Henry IV. of England, who was only 
ten years old, to enter orders. 2 The case of John XXIII. was 
an extreme one, but it must be remembered, that in Bologna 
where he was sent as cardinal-legate, his biographer, Dietrich 
of Nieheim, says that two hundred matrons and maidens, in- 
cluding some nuns, fell victims to the future pontiff's amours. 
Dietrich Vrie in his History of the Council of Constance said: 
" The supreme pontiffs, as I know, are elected through avarice 
and simony and likewise the other bishops are ordained for 

ruina and Clamanges 1 other writings and takes the view that, while the tract 
was written in 1401 or 1402, it was not punished till 1400. 

1 Mitto stuprum, raptus, incestus, adulteria, qui jam pontiflcalis lasciviae 
ludi sunt, quoted by Lea. Sacerd. Celibacy, 1. 426. Gillis li Muisis, abbot of 
St. Martin di Tournai, d. 1352, in the Recollections of his Life written a year 
before his death, speaks of good wines, a good table, fine attire and above all 
holidays as in his day the chief occupations of monks. Cure's and chap- 
lains had girls and women as valets, a troublesome habit over which there 
was murmuring, and it had to be kept quiet. See C. V. Langlois, La vie en 
France au moyen age cTapres quelques moralities du temps, Paris, 1008, pp. 
320, 336, etc. 

3 Jan. 15, 1412. Under the name of E. Leboorde. For the document, 
see English Historical Review, 1904, p. 96 sq. 


gqjd. The old proverb * Freely give, for freely ye have received 
is now most vilely perverted and runs * Freely I have not re- 
ceived and freely I will not give, for I have bought my bishopric 
with a great price and must indemnify myself impiously for 
my outlay.' ... If Simon Magus were now alive he might 
buy with money not only the Holy Ghost but God the Father 
and Me, God the Son." l But bad as was the moral condition of 
the hierarchy and papacy at the. time of the schism, it was not 
so bad as during the last half century of the Middle Ages. 
The Reformatory councils are the best, though by no means the 
only, proof that a deep moral vitality existed in the Church. 
Their very summons and assembling were a protest against 
clerical corruption and hypocrisy "in head and members," 
from the pope down to the most obscure priest, and at the 
same time a most hopeful sign of future betterment. 

25. Nicolas of Cusa, Scholar and Churchman. 

Of the theologians of the generation following Gerson and 
D'Ailly none occupies a more conspicuous place than the Ger- 
man Nicolas of Cusa, 1401-1464. After taking a prominent 
part in the Basel council in its earlier history, he went into 
the service of Eugenius IV. and distinguished himself by prac- 
tical efforts at Church reform and by writings in theology and 
other departments of human learning. 

Born at Cues near Treves, the son of a boatman, he left the 
parental home on account of harsh treatment. Coming under 
the patronage of the count of Manderscheid, he went to De- 
venter, where he received training in the school conducted by 
the Brothers of the Common Life. He studied law in Padua, 
and reached the doctorate, but exchanged law for theology be- 
cause, to follow the statement of his opponent, George of Heim- 
burg, he had failed in his first case. At Padua he had for one 
of his teachers Cesarini, afterwards cardinal and a prominent 
figure in the Council of Basel. 

In 1432 he appeared in Basel as the representative of Ulrich of 
Manderscheid, archbishop-elect of Treves, to advocate Ulrich's 

1 Hardt, I. 104 sqq. The lament is put into the mouth of Christ. 

224 THE MIDDLE AGES, A.D. 1294-1517. 

cause against his rival, Rabanus of Helmstatt, bishop of Spires, 
whom the pope had appointed archbishop of the Treves diocese. 
Identifying himself closely with the conciliar body, Nicolas 
had a leading part in the proceedings with the Hussites and 
went with the majority in advocating the superiority of the 
council over the pope. His work on Catholic Unity, De 
concordantia catholica, embodying his views on this question 
and dedicated to the council 1433, followed the earlier treat- 
ments of Langenstein, Nieheim and Gerson. A general coun- 
cil, being inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaks truly and infallibly. 
The Church is the body of the faithful unitas fidelium and 
is represented in a general council. The pope derives his au- 
thority from the consent of the Church, a council has power to 
dethrone him for heresy and other causes and may not be 
prorogued or adjourned without its own consent. Peter re- 
ceived no more authority from Christ than the other Apostles. 
Whatever was said to Peter was likewise said to the others. 
All bishops are of equal authority and dignity, whether their 
jurisdiction be episcopal, archiepiscopal, patriarchal or papal, 
just as all presbyters are equal. 1 

In spite of these views, when the question arose as to the 
place of meeting the Greeks, Nicolas sided with the minority 
in favor of an Italian city, and was a member of the delega- 
tions appointed by the minority which visited Eugenius IV. at 
Bologna and went to Constantinople. This was in 1437 and 
from that time forward he was a ready servant of Eugenius 
and his two successors. jEneas Sylvius, afterwards Pius II., 
called him the Hercules of the Eugenians. -32neas also pro- 
nounced him a man notable for learning in all branches of 
knowledge and on account of his godly life. 2 

1 John of Turrecremata, d. 1468, whose tract on the seat of authority in the 
Church Summa de eccles. et ejus auctoritate 1460 has already been referred 
to, took the extreme ultramontane position. The papal supremacy extends to 
all Christians throughout the world and includes the appointment of all bishops 
and right to depose them, the filling of all prelatures and benefices whatsoever 
and the canonizing of saints. As the vicar of Christ, he has full jurisdiction 
in all the earth in temporal as well as spiritual matters because all jurisdiction 
of secular princes is derived from the pope quod omnium principum sacula- 
rium jurisdictionalis potestas a papa in eos derivata sit. Quoted from Giese- 
ler, III. 6, pp. 210-227. * Hist, of Fred. III., 409, Germ, transl. II. 227. 


Eugenius employed his new supporter as legate to arrange 
terms of peace with the German Church and princes, an end 
he saw accomplished in the concordat of Vienna, 1447. He 
was rewarded by promotion to the college of cardinals, and 
in 1452 was made bishop of "Brixen in the Tyrol. Here he 
sought to introduce Church reforms, and he travelled as the 
papal legate in the same interest throughout the larger part of 

By attempting to assert all the mediaeval f eoffal rights of his 
diocese, the bishop came into sharp conflict with Siegmund, 
duke of Austria. Even the interdict pronounced by two popes 
did not bring the duke to terms. He declared war against the 
bishop and, taking him prisoner, forced from him a promise 
to renounce the old rights which his predecessors for many 
years had not asserted. Once released, the bishop treated his 
oath as null, on the ground that it had been forced from him, 
and in this he was supported by Pius II. In 1460 he went to 
Rome and died at Todi, Umbria, a few years later. 

Nicolas of Cusa knew Greek and Hebrew, and perhaps has 
claim to being the most universal scholar of Germany up to his 
day since Albertus Magnus. He was interested in astronomy, 
mathematics and botany, and, as D'Ailly had done before, he 
urged, at the Council of Basel, the correction of the calendar. 
The literary production on which he spent most labor was a 
discussion of the problems of theology De docta ignorantia. 
Here he attacked the scholastic method and showed the in- 
fluence upon his mind of mysticism, the atmosphere of which 
he breathed at Deventer. He laid stress upon the limitations 
of the human mind and the inability of the reason to find out 
God exhaustively. Faith, which he defined as a state of the 
soul given of God's grace, finds out truths the intellect can- 
not attain to. 1 His views had an influence upon Faber Stapu- 
lensis who edited the Cusan's works and was himself a French 
forerunner of Luther in the doctrine of justification by faith, 

His last labors, in connection with the crusade against the 

1 Fides eat habitus bonus, per bonitatem data a deo, ut per Jldem restau- 
rentur iUce veritates objectives, qitas intellectus attingere non potest, quoted 
by Schwane, p. 100. 

226 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

Turks pushed by Pius II. , led him to studies in the Koran and 
the preparation of a tract, De cribatione Alcoran, in which 
he declared that false religions have the true religion as their 

It is as an ecclesiastical mediator, and as a reformer of cler- 
ical and conventual abuses that the cardinal has his chief place 
in history. He preached in the vernacular. In Bamberg he 
secured the prohibition of new brotherhoods, in Magdeburg 
the condemnation of the sale of indulgences for money. In 
Salzburg and other places he introduced reforms in convents, 
and in connection with other members of his family he founded 
the hospital at Cues with beds for 33 patients. He showed 
his interest in studies by providing for the training of 20 boys 
in Deventer. He dwelt upon the rotation of the earth on its 
axis nearly a century before Copernicus. He gave reasons for 
regarding the donation of Constantine spurious, and he also 
called in question the genuineness of other parts of the Isido- 
rian Decretals. 

On the other hand, the cardinal was a thorough churchman 
and obedient child of the Church. As the agent of Nicolas 
V. he travelled in Germany announcing the indulgence of the 
Jubilee Year, and through him, it is said, indulgences to the 
value of 200,000 gulden were sold for the repair of St. Peter's. 

This noble and many-sided man has been coupled together 
with Gutenberg by Janssen, the able and learned apologist 
of the Catholic Church in the closing years of the Middle Ages, 
the one as the champion of clerical and Church discipline, 
the other the inventor of the printing-press. It is no dispar- 
agement of the impulses and work of Nicolas to say that he 
had not the mission of the herald of a new age in thought and 
religion as it was given to Gutenberg to promote culture and 
civilization by his invention. 1 He did not possess the gift of 

1 Janssen, I. 2-6. Here we come for the first time into contact with this 
author whose work has gone through 20 editions and made such a remarkable 
sensation. Its conclusions and methods of treatment will be referred to at 
length farther on. Here it is sufficient to call attention to the seductive 
plausibility of the work, whose purpose it is to show that an orderly refor- 
mation was going on in the Church in Germany when Luther appeared and 
by his revolutionary and immoral tendency brutally rived the unity of the 


moral and doctrinal conviction and foresight which made the 
monk of Wittenberg the exponent and the herald of a radical, 
religious reformation whose permanent benefits are borne wit- 
ness to by a large section of Christendom. 

26. Popular Preachers. 

During the century and a half closing with 1450, there were 
local groups of preachers as well as isolated pulpit orators who 
exercised a deep influence upon congregations. The German 
mystics with Eckart and John Tauler at their head preached 
in Strassburg, Cologne and along the Rhine. D'Ailly and 
Gerson stood before select audiences, and give lustre to the 
French pulpit. Wyclif, at Oxford, and John Huss in Bohemia, 
attracted great attention by their sermons and brought down 
upon themselves ecclesiastical condemnation. Huss was one 
of a number of Bohemian preachers of eminence. Wyclif 
sought to promote preaching by sending out a special class of 
men, his "pore preachers." 

The popular preachers constitute another group, though the 
period does not furnish one who can be brought into compari- 
son with the field-preacher, Berthold of Regensburg, the White- 
field of his century, d. 1272. Among the popular preachers 
of the time the most famous were Bernardino and John of 
Capistrano, both Italians, and members of the Observant wing 
of the Franciscan order, and the Spanish Dominican, Vincent 
Ferrer. To a later age belong those bright pulpit luminaries, 
Savonarola of Florence and Geiler of Strassburg. 

Bernardino of Siena, 1380-1444, was praised by Pius II. as 
a second Paul. He made a marked impression upon Italian 
audiences and was a favorite with pope Martin V. His voice, 

Church and checked the orderly reformation. Such a conclusion is a result 
of the manipulation of historic materials and the use of superlatives in de- 
scribing men and influences which were like rills in the history of the onward 
progress of religion and civilization. The initial comparison between Guten- 
berg and Nicolas of Cusa begs the whole conclusion which Janssen had in 
view in writing his work. Of the permanent consequence of the work of the 
inventor of the printing-press, no one has any doubt. The author makes a 
great jump when he asserts a like permanent influence for Nicolas in the 
department of religion. 

228 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

weak and indistinct at first, was said to have been made strong 
and clear through the grace of Mary, to whom he turned for 
help. He was the first vicar-general of the Observants, who 
numbered only a few congregations in Italy when he joined 
them, but increased greatly under his administration. In 
1424 he was in Rome and, as Infessura the Roman diarist re- 
ports, 1 so influenced the people that they brought their games 
and articles of adornment to the Capitol and made a bonfire 
of them. Wherever he went to preach, a banner was carried 
before him containing the monogram of Christ, IHS, with 
twelve rays centring in the letters. He urged priests to put 
the monogram on the walls of churches and public buildings, 
and such a monogram may still be seen on the city building 
of Siena. 2 The Augustinians and Dominicans and also Poggio 
attacked him for this practice. In 1427, he appeared in Rome 
to answer the charges. He was acquitted by Martin V., who 
gave him permission to preach everywhere, and instructed him 
to hold an eighty-days' mission in the papal city itself. In 
1419, he appeared in the Lombard cities, where the people were 
carried away by his exhortations to repentance, and often burned 
their trinkets and games in the public squares. His body lies 
in Aquila, and he was canonized by Nicolas V., 1450. 

John of Capistrano, 1386-1456, a lawyer, and at an early age 
intrusted with the administration of Perugia, joined the Obser- 
vants in 1416 and became a pupil of Bernardino. He made 
a reputation as an inquisitor in Northern Italy, converting and 
burning heretics and Jews. No one could have excelled him 
in the ferocity of his zeal against heresy. His first appointment 
as inquisitor was made in 1426, and his fourth appointment 23 
years later in 1449. 8 

As a leader of his order, he defended Bernardino in 1427, and 
was made vicar-general in 1443. He extended his preaching 

1 Diario, p. 26. For Bernardino, see Thureau-Dangin, St. Bernardin de 
Sienne. Un predicateur populaire, Paris, 189(5. Several edd. of his sermons 
have appeared, including the ed. of Paris, 1660, 5 vols., by De la Haye. 

* See Pastor, I. 231-283. 

8 Jacob, I. 30 sq. For John's life, see E. Jacob, John of Capistrano. His 
Life and Writings, 2 vols., Breslau, 1906, 1907. Pastor, I. 463-468, 691-698; 
Lempp's art. in Herzog, III. 713 sqq.; Lea, Inquisition, II. 662 sqq. 


to Vienna and far up into Germany, from Niirnberg to Dresden, 
Leipzig, Magdeburg and Breslau, making everywhere a tre- 
mendous sensation. He used the Latin or Italian, which had 
to be interpreted to his audiences. These are reported to have 
numbered as many as thirty thousand. 1 He carried relics of 
Bernardino with him, and through them and his own instru- 
mentality many miracles were said to have been performed. 
His attendants made a note of the wonderful works on the spot. 2 
The spell of his preaching was shown by the burning of pointed 
shoes, games of cards, dice and other articles of pleasure or 
vanity. Thousands of heretics are also reported to have yielded 
to his persuasions. He was called by Pius II. to preach against 
the Hussites, and later against the Turks. He was present 
at the siege of Belgrade, and contributed to the successful de- 
fence of the city and the defeat of Mohammed II. He was 
canonized in 1690. 

The life of Vincent Ferrer, d. 1419, the greatest of Spanish 
preachers, fell during the period of the papal schism, and he 
was intimately identified with the controversies it called forth. 
His name is also associated with the gift of tongues and with 
the sect of the Flagellants. This devoted missionary, born in 
Valencia, joined the Dominican order, and pursued his studies 
in the universities of Barcelona and Lerida. He won the doc- 
torate of theology by his tract on the Modern Schism in the 
Church De moderno ecclesice schismate. Returning to Valen- 
cia, he gained fame as a preacher, and was appointed confessor 
to the queen of Aragon, lolanthe, and counsellor to her hus- 
band, John I. In 1395, Benedict XIII. called him to be chief 
penitentiary in Avignon and master of the papal palace. Two 
years later he returned to Valencia with the title of papal 
legate. He at first defended the Avignon obedience with great 
warmth, but later, persuaded that Benedict was not sincere in 
his professions looking to the healing of the schism, withdrew 
from him his support and supported the Council of Constance. 

1 Yea, 60,000 at Erfurt. Jacob, I. 74. 

* See Jacob, I. 60 sqq,, etc. JEneas Sylvius said he had not seen any of 
John's miracles, but would not deny them. In Jena alone John healed 
thirty lame persons. Jacob, I. 69. 

230 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Ferrer's apostolic labors began in 1399. He itinerated 
through Spain, Northern Italy and France, preaching two and 
three times a day on the great themes of repentance and the 
nearness of the judgment. He has the reputation of being the 
most successful of missionaries among the Jews and Moham- 
medans. Twenty-five thousand Jews and eight thousand Mo- 
hammedans are said to have yielded to his persuasions. Able 
to speak only Spanish, his sermons, though they were not in- 
terpreted, are reported to have been understood in France and 
Italy. The gift of tongues was ascribed to him by his contem- 
poraries as well as the gift of miracles. Priests and singers 
accompanied him on his tours, and some of the hymns sung were 
Vincent's own compositions. His audiences are given as high 
as 70,000, an incredible number, and he is said to have preached 
twenty thousand times. He also preached to the Waldenses 
in their valleys and to the remnant of the Cathari, and is said 
to have made numerous converts. He himself was not above 
the suspicion of heresy, and Eymerich made the charge against 
him of declaring that Judas Iscariot hanged himself because 
the people would not permit him to live, and that he found 
pardon with God. 1 He was canonized by Calixtus III., 1455. 
The tale is that Ferrer noticed this member of the Borgia fam- 
ily as a young priest in Valencia, and made the prediction that 
one day he would reach the highest office open to mortal man. 2 

On his itineraries Ferrer was also accompanied by bands of 
Flagellants. He himself joined in the flagellations, and the 
scourge with which he scourged himself daily, consisting of 
six thongs, is said still to be preserved in the Carthusian con- 
vent of Catalonia, scala ccelL Both Gerson and D'Ailly at- 
tacked Ferrer for his adoption of the Flagellant delusion. In 
a letter addressed to the Spanish preacher, written during the 
sessions of the Council of Constance, Gerson took the ground 
that both the Old Testament and the New Testament forbid 

1 Lea: Inquisition, II. 168, 176, 268, 284. 

2 Razanno, a fellow-Dominican, wrote the first biography of Ferrer, 1466. 
The Standard Life is by P. Fages, Hist, de 8. Vine. Ferrer apotre de VEu- 
rope, 2 vols., 2d ed., Louvain, 1901. The best ife written by a Protestant is by 
L. Heller, Berlin, 1830. It is commended in Wetzer-Welte, XII. 978-083. 


violence done to the body, quoting in proof Deut. 14 : 1, 
"Ye shall not cut yourselves." He invited him to come to 
Constance, but the invitation was not accepted. 1 

1 For German preaching in the fourteenth century, other than that of the 
mystics, see Linsenmeyer, Gesch. der Predigt in Deutachland bis zum Au*- 
gange d. Uten Jahrh., Munich, 1886, pp. 391-470 ; Cruel : Gesch. d. deutschen 
Prediyt im M.A., p. 414 sqq.; A. Franz: Drei deutsche Minoritenprediger des 
Xllten und XlVten Jahrh., Freiburg, 1JK)7, pp. 160. The best-known 
German preachers were the Augustinians Henry of Frimar, d. 1340, and 
Jordan of Quedhnburg, d. about 1376. See for the fifteenth century, ch. IX. 



27. Sources and Literature. 

GENERAL WORKS. * FRANZ PFEIFFER: Deutsche Mystiker, 2 vols., 
Leipzig, 1857, 2d ed. of vol. I., Gottingen, 1906. * R. LANOENBERG : Quel- 
len und Forschungen zur Gesch der deutschen Mystik, Bonn, 1902. 
F. GALLE : Geistliche Stimmen aus dem M.A., zur Erbauung, Halle, 1841. 

MRS. F. BE VAN: Three Friends of God, Trees planted by the River, Lon- 
don. *W. R. INGE: Light^ Life and Love, London, 1904. Selections 
from ECKART, TAULER, Srso, RUYHBROECK, etc. The works given under 
Eckart, etc., in the succeeding sections. R. A. VAUGHAN : Hours with the 
Mystics. For a long time the chief English authority, offensive by the dia- 
logue style it pursues, and now superseded. *W. PREGER : Gesch. der 
deutschen Mystik im Mittelalter, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1874-1893. G. ULLMANN : 
Reformatoren vor der Reformation, vol. II., Hamburg, 1841. *!NGK: 
Christian Mysticism, pp. 148 sqq., London, 1899. ELEANOR C. GREGORY: 
An Introd. to Christ. Mysticism, London, 1901 . W. R. NICOLL : The Gar- 
den of Nuts, London, 1905. The first four chapp give a general treatment 
of mysticism. P. MEHLHORN: 2). Bluthezeit d. deutschen Mystik, Freiburg, 
1907, pp. 04. *S. M. DEUTSCH: Mystische Theol. in Herzog, XIX. 6,31 sqq. 

CRUEL : Gesch. d. deutschen Predigt im M.A., pp. 370-414. A. RITSCHL : 
Gesch. d. Pietismus, 3 vols., Bonn, 1880-1886. HARNACK : Dogmengesch., 
III. 376 sqq. LOOFS : Dogmengesch., 4th ed., Halle, 1906, pp. 621-633. 
W. JAMES : The Varieties of Relig. Experience, chs. XVI., XVII. 

For 29. MEISTER ECKART. German Sermons bound in a vol. with 
TAULER'S Sermons, Leipzig, 1498, Basel, 1621. PFEIFFER: Deutsche Mys- 
tiker, etc., vol. II., gives 110 German sermons, 18 tracts, and 60 fragments. 

* DENIFLE : M. EckeharCs Lateinische Schriften und die Grundanschauung 
seiner Lehre, in Archiv fur Lit. und Kirchengesch., II. 416-652. Gives 
excerpts from his Latin writings. F. JOSTES : M. Eckehart und seine 
Junger, ungedruckte Tevte zur Gesch. der deutschen Mystik, Freiburg, 1895. 

*H. BUTTNER: M. EckeharVs Schriften und Predigten aus dem Mittel- 
hochdeutschen iibersetzt, Leipzig, 1903. Gives 18 German sermons and writ- 
ings. G. LANDAUER: Eckharfs mystische Schriften in unsere Sprache 
ubertragen, Berlin, 1903. H. MARTENSEN : M. Eckart, Hamburg, 1842. 
A. LASSON : M. E. der Mystiker, Berlin, 1868. Also the section on Eckart 
by LASSON in Ueberweg's Hist, of Phil. A. JUNDT : Essai sur le mys- 
ticisme speculatif d. M.E., Strassburg, 1871 ; also Hist, du pantheisms popu- 
laire au moyen age, 1875. Gives 18 of Eckart's sermons. PREGER, I. 309- 


468. H. DELACROIX : Le mysticisms speculatif en Attemagne au U e siecle, 
Paris, 1900. DEUTBCH'S art. Eckart in Herzog, V. 142-164. DENIFLE : 
IHe Heimath M. EckeharVs in Archiv fur Lit. und K. Gesch. des M.A., V. 
349-364, 1889. STOCKL: Gesch. der Phil., etc., III. 1095-1120. PFLEI- 
DEEER: Religionsphilosophie, Berlin, 2d ed., 1883, p. 8 sqq. INGE. 
L. ZIEOLER : D. Phil, und relig. Bedeutung d. M. Eckehart in Preuss. Jahr- 
bttcher, Heft 3, 1904. See a trans, of Eckart's sermon on John 6 : 44, by 
D. S. SCHAFF, in Homiletic Rev., 1902, pp. 428-431. 

NOTE. Eckart's German sermons and tracts, published in 1498 and 1621, 
were his only writings known to exist till Pfeiffer's ed., 1867. Denifle was 
the first to discover Eckart's Latin writings, in the convent of Erfurt, 1880, 
and at Cusa on the Mosel, 1886. These are fragments on Genesis, Exodus, 
Ecclesiastes and the Book of Wisdom. John Trithemius, in his De scripp. 
eccles., 1492, gives a list of Eckart's writings which indicates a literary activ- 
ity extending beyond the works we possess. The list catalogues four books 
on the Sentences, commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, the Canticles, the Book 
of Wisdom, St. John, on the Lord's Prayer, etc. 

For 30. JOHN TAULER. Tauler's Works, Leipzig, 1498 (84 sermons 
printed from MSS. in Strassburg) ; Augsburg, 1608 ; Basel, 1521 (42 new 
sermons) and 1622 ; Halberstadt, 1623 ; Cologne, 1643 (160 sermons, 28 being 
publ. for the first time, and found in St. Gertrude's convent, Cologne); Frank- 
furt, 1666; Hamburg, 1621 ; Frankfurt, 3 vols., 1826 (the edition used by 
Miss Winkworth) ; ed. by J. HAMBERGER, 1864, 2d ed., Prag, 1872. The 
best. Hamberger substituted modern German in the text and used a Strass- 
burg MS. which was destroyed by fire at the siege of the city in 1870 ; ed. by 
KUNTZE UND BIESENTHAL containing the Introdd. of Arndt and Spener, 
Berlin, 1842. *Engl. trans., SUSANNA WINKWORTH: The History and Life 
of fiev. John Tauter with 25 Sermons, with Prefaces by CANON KINGS LEY 
and ROSWELL I). HITCHCOCK, New York, 1858. * The Inner Way, 36 Ser- 
mons for Festivals, by John Tauler, trans, with Iiitrod. by A. W. BUTTON, 
London, 1906. C.SCHMIDT: J. Tauler von Strassburg, Hamburg, 1841, 
and Nicolas von Basel, Bericht von der Bekehrung Tauler s, Strassburg, 1875. 
DENIFLE: D. Buch von geistlicher Armuth, etc., Munich, 1877, and 
Tauler'' s Bekehrung, Munster, 1879. A. JUNDT : Les amis de Dieu au If 
siecle, Paris, 1879. PREGER, III. 1-244. F. COHRS : Art. Tauler in Herzog, 
XIX. 461-469. 

NOTE. Certain writings once ascribed to Tauler, and printed with his 
works, are now regarded as spurious. They are (1) The Book of Spiritual 
Poverty, ed. by Denifle, Munich, 1877, and previously under the title Imita- 
tion of Christ's Life of Poverty, by D. Sudermann, Frankfurt, 1621, etc. 
Denifle pointed out the discord between its teachings and the teachings of 
Tauler's sermons. (2) Medulla animce, consisting of 77 chapters. Preger 
decides some of them to be genuine. (3) Certain hymns, including Es kommt 
ein Schiff geladen, which even Preger pronounces spurious, III. 86. They are 
publ. by Wackernagel. 

For 81. HENRY Suso. Ed. of his works, Augsburg, 1482, and 1512. 
*M. DIEPENBROCK: H. Suso' 8, genannt Amandus, Leben und Schriften, 
Regensburg, 1829, 4th ed., 1884, with Preface by J. GORRES. H. SEUSJD 

234 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

DENIFLE : D. deutschen Schriften des aeligen H. Sense, Munich, 1880. *H. 
SEUSE : Deutsche Schriften, ed. K. BIHLMEYER, Stuttgart, 1907. The first 
complete edition, and based upon an examination of many MSS. A Latin 
trans, of Suso's works by L. SURIUS, Cologne, 1565. French trans, by 
THIROT: Outrages mystiques du bienheureux H. Suso, 2 vols., Paris, 1899. 
Engl. extracts in Light, Life and Love, pp. 86-100. PREGER: D. Brief e 
H. Suso's nach einer Handschrift d. XV. Jahrh. , Leipzig, 1867. C. SCHMIDT : 
Der Mystiker, H. Suso in Stud, und Kritiken, 1843, pp. 836 sqq. PREOER : 
Deutsche Mystik, II. 309-419. L. KARCHER : //. Suso aus d. Predigerorden, 
inFreiburger Diocesenarchiv, 1808, p. 187 sqq. CRUEL: Gesch. d. deutschen 
Predigt, 396 sqq. Art. in WETZER-WELTK, H. SEUSK, V. 1721-1729. 

For 82. THE FRIENDS OF GOD. The works of ECK ART, TA ITLER, Suso, 
RUTSBRCECK. JITNDT : Les Amis de Dieu, Paris, 1879. KEHSEL : Art. 
Gottesfreunde in WETZER-WELTE, V. 893-900. The writings of RIJLMAN 
MERSWIN : Von den vier Jahren seines anfahenden Lebens, ed. by SCHMIDT, 
in Reuss and Cunitz, Beitrage zu den theol. Wissenschaften, V., Jena, 1864. 
His Bannerbuchlein given in Jundt's Les Amis. Das Buch von den neun 
Felsen, ed. from the original MS. by C. SCHMIDT, Leipzig, 18-59, and in ab- 
breviated form by PREOER, III. 337-407, and DIEPENIIROCK : Uvinrich Suso, 
pp. 605-672. P. STRAUCH: Art. Rulman Merswin in Herzog, XVII. 20-27. 

For the " Friend of God of the Oberland " and his writings. K. SCHMIDT : 
Nicolas von Basel: Leben und ausgewahlte Schriften, Vienna, 1866, and 
Nic. von Basel, Bericht von der Bekehrung Taulers, Strassburg, 1876. F. 
LAUCHERT : Des Gottesfreundes im Oberland Buch von den zwei Mannen, 
Bonn, 1896. C. SCHMIDT: Nic. von Basel und die Gottesfreunde, Basel, 
1866. DENIFLE : Der Gottesfreund im Oberland und Nic. von Basel. Eine 
krit. Studie, Munich, 1876. JLNDT : Rulman Merswin et VAim de Dieu de 
V Oberland, Paris, 1890. PREGER, III. 290-837. K. RIEDER : Der Gottes- 
freund vom Oberland. Eine Erflndung des Strassburger Johanmterbruders 
Nicolaus von Lowen, Innsbruck, 1906. 

For 33. JOHN OF RUYSBROECK. Vier Schriften, ed. by ARNSWALDT, 
with Introd. by ULLMANN, Hanover, 1848. Superseded by J. B. DAVID 
(prof, in Louvaine), 6 vols., Ghent, 1857-1868. Contains 12 writings. Lat. 
trans, by SURIUS, Cologne, 1649. *F. A. LAMBERT: Drei Schriften des 
Mystikers J. van Ruysb., Die Zierde der geistl. Hochzeit, Vom glanzenden 
Stein and Das Buch von der hochsten Wahrheit, Leipzig. No date ; about 
1906. Selections from Ruysbroeck in Light, Life and Love, pp. 100-196. 
* J. G. V. ENGBLHARDT : Rich, von St. Victor u. J. Ruysbroeck, Erlangen, 
1838. ULLM ANN: Reformatoren, etc., II. 36 sqq. W. L. DE VREESE : 
Bijdrage tot de kennis van het leven en de werken van J. van Ruusbroec, Ghent, 
1896. *M. MAETERLINCK : Ruysbr. and the Mystics, with Selections from 
Ruysb., London, 1894. A trans, by JANE T. STODDART of Maeterlinck's essay 
prefixed to his L'Ornement des noces spirituelles de Ruysb., trans, by him 
from the Flemish, Brussels, 1891. Art. Ruysbroeck in HERZOG, XVII. 267- 
273, by VAN VEEN. 


Lives of Groote, Florentius and their pupils, by THOMAS A KEMPIS : Opera 
omnia, ed. by SOMMALIUB, Antwerp, 1601, 3 vols., Cologne, 1759, etc., and 


in unpubl. MSS. J. BUSCH, d. 1479: Liber de viris illustribus, a collection 
of 24 biographies of Windesheim brethren, Antwerp, 1621 ; also Chronicon 
Windeshemense, Antwerp, 1621, both ed. by GRUBK, Halle, 1886. G. H. M. 
DELPRAT : Verhandeling over de broederschap van Geert Groote en over den 
involoed der fraterhuizen, Arnheim, etc., 1856. J. G. R. ACQUOY (prof, in 
Leyden) : Gerhardi Magni epistolas XIV., Antwerp, 1867. G. BONET- 
MAURY : Gerhard de Groot cTapres des documents inedites, Paris, 1878. 
* G. KETTLE WELL : Thomas a Kempis and the Brothers of the Common Life, 
2 vols., New York, 1882. * K. GRUBE: Johannes Busch, Augustinerpropst 
in Hildesheim. Ein kathol. Reformator im Uten Jahrh., Freiburg, 1881. 
Also G. Groote und seine Stiftungen, Cologne, 1883. R. LANGENBEHO : 
Quellen und Forschungen, etc., Bonn, 1902. BOERNER: Die Annalen und 
Akten der Brilder des Gemeinsamen Lebens im Lichtenhofe zu Hildesheim, 
eine Grundlage der Gesch. d. deutschen BrMerhduaer und ein Beitrag zur 
Vorgesch. der Reformation, Furstenwalde, 1906. The artt. by K. HIRSCHB 
in HERZOG, 2d ed., II. 678-760, and L. SCHULJIE, HBRZOG, 3d ed., III., 474- 
607, and P. A. THIJM in WETZER-WELTE, V. 1286-1289. ULLMANN: Refor- 
matoren, II. 1-201. LEA: Inquisition, II. 360 sqq. UHLHORN : Christl 
Liebesthatigkeit im M.A., Stuttgart, 1884, pp. 360-375. 

NOTE. A few of the short writings of Groote were preserved by Thomas & 
Kempis. To the sermons edited by Acquoy, Langenberg, pp. 3-33, has 
added Groote's tract on simony, which he found in the convent of Frenswegen, 
near Nordhorn. He has also found Groote's Latin writings. The tract on 
simony de simonia ad Beguttas is addressed to the Beguines in answer to 
the question propounded to him by some of their number as to whether it was 
simony to purchase a place in a Beguine convent. The author says that 
simony " prevails very much everywhere," and that it was not punished by 
the Church. He declares it to be simony to purchase a place which involves 
spiritual exercises, and he goes on to apply the principle to civil offices, pro- 
nouncing it simony when they are bought for money. The work is written 
in Low German, heavy in style, but interesting for the light it throws on 
practices current at that time. 

For 36. THE IMITATION OP CHRIST. Edd. of A KEMPIS' works, Utrecht, 
1473 (16 writings, and omitting the Imitation of Christ) ; Nurnberg, 1494 (20 
writings), ed. by J. BADIUS, 1620, 1521, 1523; Paris, 1549; Antwerp, 1574 ; 
Dillingen, 1676 ; ed. by H. SOMMALIUS, 3 vols., Antwerp, 1599, 3d ed. 1616 ; 
ed. by M. J. POHL, 8 vols. promised ; thus far 6 vols., Freiburg im Br., 1903 
sqq. Best and only complete ed. THOMAS A KEMPIS' hymns in BLUME 
and DREVES: Analecta hymnica, XL VIII. pp. 476-614. For biograph. 
and critical accounts. Jon. BUSCH: Chron. Windesemense. H. Ros- 
WEYDE : Chron. Mt. S. Agnetis, Antwerp, 1615, and cum Rosweydii vindiciis 
Kempensibus, 1622. J. B. MALOU : Rechercheshistoriq. et critiq. sur le veri- 
table auteur du livre de VImilat. de Jesus Chr., Tournay, 1848 ; 3d ed., Paris, 
1858. * K. HIRSCHS : Prologomena zu einer neuen Ausgabe de imitat. Chr. 
(with a copy of the Latin text of the MS. dated 1441), Berlin, 1873, 1883, 
1894. C. WOLFBGRUBER : Giovanni Gersen sein Leben und sein Werk de 
Imitat. Chr., Augsburg, 1880. *S. KETTLEWELL : Th, a Kempis and the 
Brothers of the Common Life, 2 vols., London, 1882. Also Authorship of 

236 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

the de imitat. Chr., London, 1877, 2d ed., 1884. F. R. CHUIBB : Th. d 
Kempis, with Notes of a visit to the scenes in which his life wets spent, with 
some account of the examination of his relics, London, 1887. L. A. 
WHBATLEY: Story of the Imitat. of Chr., London, 1891. DOM VINCENT 
SCULLY : Life of the Venerable Th. a Kempis, London, 1901. J. E. G. DK 
MONTMORENCY : Th. a Kempis, His Age and Book, London, 1906. * C. BIGG 
in Wayside Sketches in Eccles. Hist., London, 1906, pp. 184-164. D. B. 
BUTLER, Thos. a Kempis, a Bel. Study, London, 1908. Art. Thos. d Kempis 
in London Quarterly Beview, April, 1908, pp. 254-263. 

First printed ed of the Latin text of the Imitat. of Christ, Augsburg, 1472. 
Bound up with Jerome's de mris illust. and writings of Augustine and Th. 
Aquinas. Of the many edd. in Kngl. the first was by W. ATKYNSON, and 
MARGARET, mother of Henry VII., London, 1602, reprinted London, 1828, new 
ed. by J. K. INGRAM, London, 1893. The Imitat. of Chr., being the auto- 
graph MS. of Th. a Kempis de Imitat. Chr. reproduced in facsimile from 
the orig. in the royal libr. at Brussels. With Introd. by C. RUELENR, London, 
1879. The Imitat. of Chr. Now for the first time set forth in Rhythm and 
Sentences. With Pref. by CANON LIDDON, London, 1889. Facsimile He- 
production of the 1st ed. of 1471, with Hist. Introd. by C. KNOX-LITTLE, Lon- 
don, 1894. The Imitat. of Chr , trans, by CANON W. BENHAM, with 12 
photogravures after celebrated paintings, London, 1906. An ed. issued 
1881 contains a Pref. by DEAN FARRAR. R. P. A. DE BACKER : Essai bib- 
Iwgraph. sur le lime, de imitat. Chr., Liege, 1864. For further lit. on the 
Imitat. of Chr., see the Note at the end of 36. 

28. The New Mysticism. 

In joy of inward peace, or sense 

Of sorrow over sin, 
He is his own best evidence 

His witness is within. 

WHITTIER, Our Master. 

At the time when the scholastic method was falling into 
disrepute and the scandals of the Avignon court and the 
papal schism were shaking men's faith in the foundations of 
the Church, a stream of pure pietism was watering the regions 
along the Rhine, from Basel to Cologne, and from Cologne to 
the North Sea. North of the Alps, voices issuing from con- 
vents and from the ranks of the laity called attention to the 
value of the inner religious life and God's immediate com- 
munications to the soul. 

To this religious movement has recently been given the 
name, the Dominican mysticism, on account of the large 


number of its representatives who belonged to the Domini- 
can order. The older name, German mysticism, which is to 
be preferred, points to the locality where it manifested itself, 
and to the language which the mystics for the most part 
used in their writings. Like the Protestant Reformation, 
the movement had its origin on German soil, but, unlike 
the Reformation, it did not spread beyond Germany and the 
Lowlands. Its chief centres were Strassburg and Cologne; 
its leading representatives the speculative Meister Eckart, d. 
1327, John Tauler, d. 1361, Henry Suso, d. 1366, John Ruys- 
broeck, d. 1381, Gerrit Groote, d. 1384, and Thomas a Kempis, 
d. 1471. The earlier designation for these pietists was 
Friends of God. The Brothers of the Common Life, the 
companions and followers of Groote, were of the same type, 
but developed abiding institutions of practical Christian 
philanthropy. In localities the Beguines and Beghards also 
breathed the same devotional and philanthropic spirit. The 
little book called the German Theology, and the Imitation of 
Christ, were among the finest fruits of the movement. Gerson 
and Nicolas of Cusa also had a strong mystical vein, but 
they are not to be classed with the German mystics. With 
them mysticism was an incidental, not the distinguishing, 

The mystics along the Rhine formed groups which, however, 
were not bound together by any formal organization. Their 
only bond was the fellowship of a common religious purpose. 

Their religious thought was not always homogeneous in its 
expression, but all agreed in the serious attempt to secure 
purity of heart and life through union of the soul with God. 
Mysticism is a phase of Christian life. It is a devotional 
habit, in contradistinction to the outward and formal practice 
of religious rules. It is a religious experience in contrast to 
a mere intellectual assent to tenets. It is the conscious effort 
of the soul to apprehend and possess God and Christ, and ex- 
presses itself in the words, "I live, and yet not I but Christ 
liveth in me." It is essentially what is now called in some 
quarters "personal religion." Perhaps the shortest defi- 
nition of mysticism is the best. It is the love of God shed 

238 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

abroad in the heart. 1 The element of intuition has a large 
place, and the avenues through which religious experience 
is reached are self-detachment from the world, self-purga- 
tion, prayer and contemplation. 

Without disparaging the sacraments or disputing the au- 
thority of the Church, the Germanmystics soughtabetterway. 
They laid stress upon the meaning of such passages as " he 
that believeth in me shall never hunger and he that cometh 
unto me shall never thirst," " he that loveth me shall be loved 
of my Father " and " he that f olloweth me shall not walk in 
darkness." The word love figures most prominently in their 
writings. Among the distinctive terms in vogue among them 
were Abffeschiedenheit^ Eckart's word for self-detachment from 
the world and that which is temporal, and Kehr, Tauler's 
oft-used word for conversion. They laid stress upon the 
new birth, and found in Christ's incarnation a type of the 
realization of the divine in the soul. 

German mysticism had a distinct individuality of its own. 
On occasion, its leaders quoted Augustine's Confessions and 
other works, Dionysius the Areopagite, Bernard and Thomas 
Aquinas, but they did not have the habit of referring back to 
human authorities as had the Schoolmen, bulwarking every 
theological statement by patristic quotations, or statements 
taken from Aristotle. The movement arose like a root out 
of a dry ground at a time of great corruption and distraction 
in the Church, and it arose where it might have been least ex- 
pected to arise. Its field was the territory along the Rhine 
where the heretical sects had had representation. It was a 
fresh outburst of piety, an earnest seeking after God by other 
paths than the religious externalism fostered by sacerdotal 

* See Inge, Engl. Mystics, p. 37. This author, in his Christian Mysticism, 
p. 5, gives the definition that mysticism is "the attempt to realize in the 
thought and feeling the immanence of the temporal in the eternal and of the 
eternal in the temporal." His statements in another place, The Inner Way, 
pp. xx-xxii, are more simple and illuminating. The mystical theology is 
that knowledge of God and of divine things which is derived not from obser- 
vation or from argument but from conscious experience. The difficulty of 
giving a precise definition of mysticism is seen in the definitions Inge cites, 
Christian Mysticism, Appendix A. Comp. Deutsch, p. 632 sq. 


prescriptions and scholastic dialectics. The mystics led the 
people back from the clangor and tinkling of ecclesiastical 
symbolisms to the refreshing springs of water which spring 
up into everlasting life. 

Compared with the mysticism of the earlier Middle Ages 
and the French quietism of the seventeenth century, repre- 
sented by Madame Guyon, Fenelon and their predecessor 
the Spaniard Miguel de Molinos, German mysticism likewise 
has its own distinctive features. The religion of Bernard 
expressed itself in passionate and rapturous love for Jesus. 
Madame Guyon and F6nelon set up as the goal of religion a 
state of disinterested love, which was to be reached chiefly 
by prayer, an end which Bernard felt it scarcely possible to 
reach in this world. 

The mystics along the Rhine agreed with all genuine 
mystics in striving after the direct union of the soul with 
God. They sought, as did Eckart, the loss of our being in 
the ocean of the Godhead, or with Tauler the undisturbed 
peace of the soul, or with Ruysbroeck the impact of the divine 
nature upon our nature at its innermost point, kindling with 
divine love as fire kindles. With this aspiration after the 
complete apprehension of God, they combined a practical ten- 
dency. Their silent devotion and meditation were not final 
exercises. They were moved by warm human sympathies, 
and looked with almost reverential regard upon the usual 
pursuits and toil of men. They approached close to the idea 
that in the faithful devotion to daily tasks man may realize 
the highest type of religious experience. 

By preaching, by writing and circulating devotional works, 
and especially by their own examples, they made known the 
secret and the peace of the inner life. In the regions along 
the lower Rhine, the movement manifested itself also in the 
care of the sick, and notably in schools for the education of 
the young. These schools proved to be preparatory for the 
German Reformation by training a body of men of wider 
outlook and larger sympathies than the mediaeval convent 
was adapted to rear. 

For the understanding of the spirit and meaning of Ger- 

240 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

man mysticism, no help is so close at hand as the comparison 
between it and mediaeval scholasticism. This religious move- 
ment was the antithesis of the theology of the Schoolmen ; 
Eckart and Tauler of Thomas Aquinas, the German Theol- 
ogy of the endless argumentation of Duns Scotus, the Imita- 
tion of Christ of the cumbersome exhaustiveness of Albertus 
Magnus. Roger Bacon had felt revulsion from the hair- 
splitting casuistries of the Schoolmen, and given expression to 
it before Eckart began his activity at Cologne. Scholasticism 
had trodden a beaten and dusty highway. The German 
mystics walked in secluded and shady pathwaj's. For a 
catalogue of dogmatic maxims they substituted the quiet ex- 
pressions of filial devotion and assurance. The speculative 
element is still prominent in Eckart, but it is not indulged 
for the sake of establishing doctrinal rectitude, but for the 
nurture of inward experience of God's operations in the soul. 
Godliness with these men was not a system of careful defini- 
tions, it was a state of spiritual communion; not an elabo- 
rate construction of speculative thought, but a simple faith 
and walk with God. Not processes of logic but the insight 
of devotion was their guide. 1 As Loofs has well said, Ger- 
man mysticism emphasized above all dogmas and all ex- 
ternal works the necessity of the new birth. 2 

It also had its dangers. Socrates had urged men not to 
rest hopes upon the Delphian oracle, but to listen to the voice 
in their own bosoms. The mystics, in seeking to hear the 
voice of God speaking in their own hearts, ran peril of mag- 
nifying individualism to the disparagement of what was 
common to all and of mistaking states of the overwrought 
imagination for revelations from God. 8 

Although the German mystical writers have not been 

1 It is quite in keeping with this contrast that Pfleiderer, in his Religions- 
philo sophie, excludes the German mystics from a place in the history of Ger- 
man philosophy on the ground that their thinking was not distinctly system- 
atic. He, however, gives a brief statement to Eckart, but excludes Jacob 
Boehme. a Dogmengesch., p. 631. 

8 Nicoll, Garden of Nuts, p. 31, says, "We study the mystics to learn from 
them. It need not be disguised that there are great difficulties in the way. 
The mystics are the most individual of writers," etc. 


quoted in the acts of councils or by popes as have been the 
theologies of the Schoolmen, they represented, if we follow 
the testimonies of Luther and Melanchthon, an important 
stage in the religious development of the German people, and 
it is certainly most significant that the Reformation broke 
out on the soil where the mystics lived and wrought, and 
their piety took deep root. They have a perennial life for 
souls who, seeking devotional companionship, continue to go 
back to the leaders of that remarkable pietistic movement. 

The leading features of the mysticism of the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries may be summed up in the following prop- 

1. Its appeals were addressed to laymen as well as to clerics. 

2. The mystics emphasized instruction and preaching, and, 
if we except Suso, withdrew the emphasis which had been 
laid upon the traditional ascetic regulations of the Church. 
They did not commend bufferings of the body. The dis- 
tance between Peter Damiani and Tauler is world-wide. 

3. They used the New Testament more than they used the 
Old Testament, and the words of Christ took the place of the 
Canticles in their interpretations of the mind of God. The 
German Theology quotes scarcely a single passage which is 
not found in the New Testament, and the Imitation of Christ 
opens with the quotation of words spoken by our Lord. 
Eckart and Tauler dwell upon passages of the New Testa- 
ment, and Ruysbroeck evolves the fulness of his teaching 
from Matthew 25 : 6, " Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go 
ye out to meet him." 

4. In the place of the Church, with its sacraments and 
priesthood as a saving institution, is put Christ himself as 
the mediator between the soul and God, and he is offered as 
within the reach of all. 

5. A pure life is taught to be a necessary accompaniment 
of the higher religious experience, and daily exemplification 
is demanded of that humility which the Gospel teaches. 

6. Another notable feature was their use of the vernacular 
in sermon and treatise. The mystics are among the very 
earliest masters of German and Dutch prose. In the Intro- 

242 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

duction to his second edition of the German Theology^ 
Luther emphasized this aspect of their activity when he said, 
44 1 thank God that I have heard and find my God in the Ger- 
man tongue as neither I nor they [the adherents of the old 
way] have found Him in the Latin and Hebrew tongues." 
In this regard also the mystics of the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries were precursors of the evangelical movement of the 
sixteenth century. Their practice was in plain conflict with 
the judgment of that German bishop who declared that the 
German language was too barbarous a tongue to be a proper 
vehicle of religious truth. 

The religious movement represented by German and Dutch 
mysticism is an encouraging illustration that God's Spirit 
may be working effectually in remote and unthought-of 
places and at times when the fabric of the Church seems to be 
hopelessly undermined with formalism, clerical corruption and 
hierarchical arrogance and worldliness. It was so at a later 
day when, in the little and remote Moravian town of Ilerrn- 
hut, God was preparing the weak things of the world, and 
the things which were apparently foolish, to confound the 
dead orthodoxy of German Protestantism and to lead the 
whole Protestant Church into the way of preaching the Gos- 
pel in all the world. No organized body survived the mystics 
along the Rhine, but their example and writings continue to 
encourage piety and simple faith toward God within the pale 
of the Catholic and Protestant churches alike. 

A classification of the German mystics on the basis of 
speculative and practical tendencies has been attempted, but 
it cannot be strictly carried out. 1 In Eckart and Ruysbroeck, 
the speculative element was in the ascendant ; in Tauler, the 

1 See Preger, 1. 8, and Ullmann, Iteformatoren, II. 203. Harnack goes far 
when he denies all originality to the German mystics. Of Eckart he says, 
Dogmenyesch., III. 378, " I give no extracts from his writings because I do 
not wish to seem to countenance the error that the German mystics expressed 
anything we cannot read in Origen, Plotlnus, the Areopagite, Augustine, 
Erigena, Bernard and Thomas Aquinas, or that they represented a stage of 
religious progress.** The message they announced was certainly a fresh one 
to their generation, even if all they said had been said before. They spoke 
from the living sources of their own spiritual experience. They were not 


devotional ; in Suso, the emotional; in Groote and other men 
of the Lowlands, the practical. 

29. Meister Eckart. 

Meister Eckart, 1260-1327, the first in the line of the Ger- 
man mystics, was excelled in vigor of thought by no religious 
thinker of his century, and was the earliest theologian who 
wrote in German. 1 The philosophical bent of his mind won 
for him from Hegel the title, " father of German philosophy.** 
In spite of the condemnation passed upon his writings by the 
pope, his memory was regarded with veneration by the suc- 
ceeding generation of mystics. His name, however, was al- 
most forgotten in later times. Mosheim barely mentions it, 
and the voluminous historian, Schroeckh, passes it by alto- 
gether. Baur, in his History of the Middle Age*) devotes to 
Eckart and Tauler only three lines, and these under the head 
of preaching, and makes no mention at all of German mysti- 
cism. His memory again came to honor in the last century, 
and in the German church history of the later Middle Ages 
he is now accorded a place of pre-eminence for his fresh- 
ness of thought, his warm piety and his terse German style. 2 
With Albertus Magnus and Rupert of Deutz he stands out 
an the earliest prominent representative in the history of 
German theology. 

imitators. Harnack, however, goes on to give credit to the German mystics 
for fulfilling a mission when he says they are of invaluable worth for the 
history of doctrine and the church history of Germany. In the same con- 
nection he denies the distinction between mysticism and scholastic theology. 
" Mysticism,' 1 he asserts, " cannot exist in the Protestant Church, and the 
Protestant who is a mystic and does not become a Roman Catholic is a 
dilettante. 19 This condemnation is based upon the untenable premise that 
mysticism is essentially conventual, excluding sane intellectual criticism and 
a practical out-of-doors Christianity. 

1 Eckart's name is written in almost every conceivable way in the docu- 
ments. See BUttner, p. zxii, as Eckardus, Eccardus, Egghardus ; Deutsch 
and Delacroix, Eckart ; Pfeiffer, Preger, Inge and Langenberg, Eckhart ; 
Denifle and Bttttner, Eckehart. His writings give us scarcely a single clew to 
his fortunes. Quiltif-Echard was the first to lift the veil from portions of his 
career. See Freger, I. 825. 

9 Deutsch, Herzog, V. 140, says that part* of Eckart's sermons might serve 
as models of German style to-day. 

244 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

During the century before Eckart, the German church 
also had its mystics, and in the twelfth century the godly 
women, Hildegard of Bingen and Elizabeth of Schonau, added 
to the function of prophecy a mystical element. In the 
thirteenth century the Benedictine convent of Helfta, near 
Eisleben, Luther's birthplace, was a centre of religious warmth. 
Among its nuns were several by the names of Gertrude and 
Mechthild, who excelled by their religious experiences, and 
wrote on the devotional life. Gertrude of Hackeborn, d. 
1292, abbess of Helfta, and Gertrude the Great, d. 1302, 
professed to have immediate communion with the Saviour 
and to be the recipients of divine revelations. When one of 
the Mechthilds asked Christ where he was to be found, the 
reply was, " You may seek me in the tabernacle and in Ger- 
trude's heart." From 1203 Gertrude the Great recorded her 
revelations in a work called the Communications of Piety 
Insinuationes divince pietatis. Mechthil J of Magdeburg, d. 
1280, and Mechthild of Hackeborn, d. 1310, likewise nuns of 
Helfta, also had visions which they wrote out. The former, 
who for thirty years had been a Beguine, Deutsch calls " one 
of the most remarkable personalities in the religious history 
of thethirteenth century." Meehthild of Hackeborn, ayounger 
sister of the abbess Gertrude, in her book on special grace, 
Liber specialis gratice^ sets forth salvation as the gift of 
grace without the works of the law. These women wrote in 
German. 1 

David of Augsburg, d. 1271, the inquisitor who wrote on the 
inquisition, De inquisitione hcereticorum, also wrote on the 
devotional life. These writings were intended for monks, and 
two of them 2 are regarded as pearls of German prose. 

1 Flacius Illyricus includes the second Mechthild in bis Catal. veritati*. 
For the lives of these women and the editions of their works, see Preger, I. 
71-132, an<l the artt. of Deutsch and Zockler in Herzog. Some of the elder 
Mechthild's predictions and descriptions seem to have been used by Dante. 
See Preger, p. 103 sq. Mechthild v. Magdeburg : D. Jliessende Licht der 
Gotthnt, Berlin, 1007. 

2 Die sieben Vorregeln der Tugend and der Spiegel der Tugend, both given 
by PfeifEer, together with other tract*, the genuineness of some of which is 
doubted. See Preger, L 268-283, and Lempp in Herzog, IV. 603 sq. 


In the last years of the thirteenth century, the Franciscan 
Lamprecht of Regensburg wrote a poem entitled " Daughter of 
Zion" (Cant. III. 11), which, in a mystical vein, depicts the 
soul, moved by the impulse of love, and after in vain seeking 
its satisfaction in worldly things, led by faith and hope to God. 
The Dominicans, Dietrich of Freiburg and John of Stern gas- 
sen, were also of the same tendency. 1 The latter labored in 

Eckart broke new paths in the realm of German religious 
thought. He was born at Hochheim, near Gotha, and died 
probably in Cologne. 2 In the last years of the thirteenth cen- 
tury he was prior of the Dominican convent of Erfurt, and pro- 
vincial of the Dominicans in Thuringia, and in 1300 was sent 
to Paris to lecture, taking the master's degree, and later the 
doctorate. After his sojourn in France he was made prior 
of his order in Saxony, a province at that time extending from 
the Lowlands to Livland. In 1311 he was again sent to Paris 
as a teacher. Subsequently he preached in Strassburg, was 
prior in Frankfurt, 1320, and thence went to Cologne. 

Charges of heresy were preferred against him in 1325 by 
the archbishop of Cologne, Henry of Virneburg. The same 
year the Dominicans, at their general chapter held in Venice, 
listened to complaints that certain popular preachers in Ger- 
many were leading the people astray, and sent a representa- 
tive to make investigations. Henry of Virneburg had shown 
himself zealous in the prosecution of heretics. In 1322, Walter, 
a Beghard leader, was burnt, and in 1325 a number of Beg- 
hards died in the flames along the Rhine. It is possible that 
Eckart was quoted by these sectaries, and in this way was 
exposed to the charge of heresy. 

The archbishop's accusations, which had been sent to Rome, 
were set aside by Nicolas of Strassburg, Eckart's friend, 
who at the time held the position of inquisitor in Germany. 
In 1327, the archbishop again proceeded against the suspected 
preacher and also against Nicolas. Both appealed from the 

* Denifle, Archiv, etc., II. 240, 529. 

2 Till the investigations of Denifle, his place of birth was usually given as 
Stnwsburg. See Denifle, p. 355. 

246 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

archbishop's tribunal to the pope. In February, Eckart made 
a public statement in the Dominican church at Cologne, 
declaring he had always eschewed heresy in doctrine and 
declension in morals, and expressed his readiness to retract 
errors, if such should be found in his writings. 1 

In a bull dated March 27, 1329, John XXII. announced 
that of the 26 articles charged against Eckart, 15 were hereti- 
cal and the remaining 11 had the savor of heresy. Two other 
articles, not cited in the indictment, were also pronounced 
heretical. The papal decision stated that Eckart had ac- 
knowledged the 17 condemned articles as heretical. There 
is no evidence of such acknowledgment in the offender's 
extant writing. 2 

Among the articles condemned were the following. As 
soon as God was, He created the world. The world is 
eternal. External acts are not in a proper sense good and 
divine. The fruit of external acts does not make us good, 
but internal acts which the Father works in us. God loves 
the soul, not external acts. The two added articles charged 
Eckart with holding that there is something in the soul 
which is uncreated and uncreatable, and that God is neither 
good nor better nor best, so that God can no more be called 
good than white can be called black. 

Eckart merits study as a preacher and as a mystic theo- 

1 Ego magister Ekardus, doctor sac. theol., protestor ante omnia, quod 
omnem errorem in fide et omnem deformitatem inmonbus semper in quantum 
mihi possiltile fuit, sum detestatus, etc. Preger, I. 476-478. Preger, I. 471 
sqq., gives the Latin text of Eckart's statement of Jan. 24, 1327, before the 
archiepiscopal court, his public statement of innocence in the Dominican 
church and the document containing the court's refusal to allow his appeal 
to Rome. 

8 The 20 articles, as Denifle has shown, were based upon Eckart's Latin 
writings. John's bull is given by Preger, I. 479-182, and by Denifle, Archiv, 
II. 086-640. Preger, I. 366 sqq., Delacroix, p. 238 and Deutsch, V. 146, insist 
that Eckart made no specific recantation. The pope's reference must have 
been to the statement Eckart made in the Dominican church, which con- 
tained the words, " I will amend and revoke in general and in detail, as often 
as may be found opportune, whatever is discovered to have a less wholesome 
sense, intellectum minus sane. 

29. MEI8TER ECKART. 247 

As A PREACHER. His sermons were delivered in churches 
and at conferences within cloistral walls. His style is graphic 
and attractive, to fascination. The reader is carried on by 
the progress of thought. The element of surprise is promi- 
nent. Eckart's extant sermons are in German, and the 
preacher avoids dragging in Latin phrases to explain his 
meaning, though, if necessary, he invents new German terms. 
He quotes the Scriptures frequently, and the New Testament 
more often than the Old, the passages most dwelt upon being 
those which describe the new birth, the sonship of Christ and 
believers, and love. Eckart is a master in the use of illus- 
trations, which he drew chiefly from the sphere of daily ob- 
servation, the world of nature, the domestic circle and the 
shop. Although he deals with some of the most abstruse 
truths, he betrays no ambition to make a show of speculative 
subtlety. On the contrary, he again and again expresses a 
desire to be understood by his hearers, who are frequently 
represented as in dialogue with himself and asking for expla- 
nations of difficult questions. Into the dialogue are thrown 
such expressions as " in order that you may understand, " and 
in using certain illustrations he on occasion announces that 
he uses them to make himself understood. 1 

The following is a resume of a sermon on John 6 : 44, 
" No man can come unto me except the Father draw him." 2 
In drawing the sinner that He may convert him, God draws 
with more power than he would use if He were to make a 
thousand heavens and earths. Sin is an offence against nature, 
for it breaks God's image in us. For the soul, sin is death, for 
God is the soul's true life. For the heart, it is restlessness, 
for a thing is at rest only when it is in its natural state. 
Sin is a disease and blindness, for it blinds men to the brief 
duration of time, the evils of fleshly lust and the long dura- 
tion of the pains of hell. It is bluntness to all grace. Sin 
is the prison-house of hell. People say they intend to turn 
away from their sins. But how can one who is dead make 
himself alive again? And by one's own powers to turn from 
sin unto God is much less possible than it would be for the 

i BUttner, p. 14 ; Pfeifler, p. 192, etc. 2 Pfeifler, 216. 

248 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1617. 

dead to make themselves alive. God himself must draw. 
Grace flows from the Father's heart continually, as when He 
says, " I have loved thee with an everlasting love." 

There are three things in nature which draw, and these 
three Christ had on the cross. The first was his fellow-like- 
ness to us. As the bird draws to itself the bird of the same 
nature, so Christ drew the heavenly Father to himself, so that 
the Father forgot His wrath in contemplating the sufferings 
of the cross. Again Christ draws by his self-emptiness. As 
the empty tube draws water into itself, so the Son, by empty- 
ing himself and letting his blood flow, drew to himself all the 
grace from the Father's heart. The third thing by which he 
draws is the glowing heat of his love, even as the sun with its 
heat draws up the mists from the earth. 

The historian of the German mediaeval pulpit, Cruel, has 
said, 1 " Eckart's sermons hold the reader by the novelty and 
greatness of their contents, by their vigor of expression and 
by the genial frankness of the preacher himself, who is felt 
to be putting his whole soul into his effort and to be giving 
the most precious things he is able to give." He had his 
faults, but in spite of them "he is the boldest and most 
profound thinker the German pulpit has ever had, a 
preacher of such original stamp of mind that the Church in 
Germany has not another like him to offer in all the centuries." 


bound in part by the scholastic method. His temper, how- 
ever, differed widely from the temper of the Schoolmen. 
Anselm, Hugo of St. Victor, Thomas Aquinas and Bonaven- 
tura, who united the mystical with the scholastic element, 
were predominantly Schoolmen, seeking to exhaust every 
supposable speculative problem. No purpose of this kind 
appears in Eckart's writings. He is dominated by a desire 
not so much to reach the intellect as to reach the soul and to 
lead it into immediate fellowship with God. With him the 
weapons of metaphysical dexterity are not on show; and in 
his writings, so far as they are known, he betrays no inclina- 
tion to bring into the area of his treatment those remoter 



topics of speculation, from the constitution of the angelic 
world to the motives and actions which rule and prevail in 
the regions of hell. God and the soul's relation to Him are 
the engrossing subjects. 1 

The authorities upon whom Eckart relied most, if we are 
to judge by his quotations, were Dionysius the Areopagite, 
and St. Bernard, though he also quotes from Augustine, 
Jerome and Gregory the Great, from Plato, Avicenna and 
Averrhoes. His discussions are often introduced by such ex- 
pressions as " the masters say," or " some masters say." As 
a mystical thinker he has much in common with the mystics 
who preceded him, Neo-Platonic and Christian, but he was 
no servile reproducer of the past. Freshness characterizes 
his fundamental principles and his statement of them. In 
the place of love for Jesus, the precise definitions of the stages 
of contemplation emphasized by the school of St. Victor and 
the hierarchies and ladders and graduated stairways of Dio- 
nysius, he magnifies the new birth in the soul, and son- 
ship. 2 

As for God, He is absolute being, Deus est ease. The 
Godhood is distinct from the persons of the Godhead, a 
conception which recalls Gilbert of Poictiers, or even the qua- 
ternity which Peter the Lombard was accused of setting up. 

1 Denifle lays down the proposition that Eckart is above all a School- 
man, and that whatever there is of good in him is drawn from Thomas 
Aquinas. These conclusions are based upon Eckart 's Latin writings. Deutsch, 
V. 16, says that the form of Eckart's thought in the Latin writings is scholastic, 
but the heart is mystical. Delacroix, p. 277 sqq., denies that Eckart was a 
scholastic and followed Thomas. Wetzer-Welte, IV. 11, deplores as Eckart's 
defect that he departed from " the solid theology of Scholasticism " and took 
up Neo-Platonic vagaries. If Eckart had been a servile follower of Thomas, it 
is hard to understand how he should have laid himself open in 28 propositions 
to condemnation for heresy. 

a Harnack and, in a modified way, Delacroix and Loofs, regard Eckart's 
theology as a reproduction of Erigena, Dionysius and Plotinus. Delacroix, 
p. 240, says, sur tous leapohtfs esaentiets, il est tfactord avec Plotin et Pro- 
clus. But, in another place, p. 260, he says Eckart took from Neo-Platonism 
certain leading conceptions and " elaborated, transformed and transmuted 
them." Loofs, p. 680, somewhat ambiguously says, Die game Eckehartsche 
Mystik it verstSndlich als fine Erfassung der thomistischen und augus- 
tinischen Tradition unter dem Gesichtswinkel des Areopagtien. 

250 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

The Trinity is the method by which this Godhood reveals 
itself by a process which is eternal. Godhood is simple es- 
sence having in itself the potentiality of all things. 1 God 
has form, and yet is without form; is being, and yet is without 
being. Great teachers say that God is above being. This is 
not correct, for God may as little be called a being, em Weaen, 
as the sun may be called black or pale. 2 

All created things were created out of nothing, and yet they 
were eternally in God. The master who produces pieces of 
art, first had all his art in himself. The arts are master within 
the master. Likewise the first Principle, which Eckart calls 
Erstigkeit, embodied in itself all images, that is, God in God. 
Creation is an eternal act. As soon as God was, He created 
the world. Without creatures, God would riot be God. God 
is in all things and all things are God Nu tint all Ding 
ffleich in O-ott und Bint Q-ot selber.* Thomas Aquinas made a 
clear distinction between the being of God and the being of 
created things. Eckart emphasized their unity. What he 
meant was that the images or universals exist in God eter- 
nally, as he distinctly affirmed when he said, " In the Father 
are the images of all creatures." 4 

As for the soul, it can be as little comprehended in a defi- 
nition as God Himself. 6 The soul's kernel, or its ultimate es- 
sence, is the little spark, Funkelein, a light which never goes 
out, which is uncreated and uncreatable. 6 Notwithstanding 
these statements, the German theologian affirms that God 
created the soul and poured into it, in the first instance, all 
His own purity. Through the spark the soul is brought into 
union with God, and becomes more truly one with Him than 

1 Pfeiffer, pp. 264, 640. 

2 Pfeiffer, p. 208. The following passage is an instance of Eckart's ab- 
struseness in definition. He says God's einveltigin Natur ist von Forme n 
formelos, von Werdenen werdelos, von Wetenen weselos, und ist von Sachen 
$achelos. Pfeiffer, p. 497. Pfeiffer, pp. 282, 311, 570. 

4 In dem Vater sind Slide alter Creaturen, Pfeiffer, pp. 200, 285, etc. 

6 Die Seele in ihrem Grande ist so unsprecMich als Gott unsprechltch int. 
Pfeiffer, p. 80. 

' pp. 89, 113, 198, 286, etc. Pfleiderer, p. 0, calls this the soul's spirit, der 
Geist der Seek, and Deutsch, p. 162, der innerst Seelengrund. 

29. MEI8TEB BCKART. 251 

food does with the body. The soul cannot rest till it returns 
to God, and to do so it must first die to itself, that is, com- 
pletely submit itself to God. 1 Eckart's aim in all his sermons, 
as he asserts, was to reach this spark. 

It is one of Eckart's merits that he lays so much stress upon 
the dignity of the soul. Several of his tracts bear this title. 3 
This dignity follows from God's love and regenerative opera- 

Passing to the incarnation, it is everywhere the practical 
purpose which controls Eckart's treatment, and not the meta- 
physical. The second person of the Trinity took on human 
nature, that man might become partaker of the divine nature. 
In language such as Gregory of Nyssa used, he said, God be- 
came man that we might become God. Q-ott ist Mensch warden 
das% wir Gott wurden. As God was hidden within the human 
nature so that we saw there only man, so the soul is to be 
hidden within the divine nature, that we should see nothing 
but God. 8 As certainly as God begets the Son from His own 
nature, so certainly does He beget Him in the soul. God is 
in all things, but He is in the soul alone by birth, and no- 
where else is He so truly as in the soul. No one can know 
God but the only begotten Son. Therefore, to know God, 
man must through the eternal generation become Son. It 
is as true that man becomes God as that God was made man. 4 

The generation of the eternal Son in the soul brings joy 
which no man can take away. A prince who should lose his 
kingdom and all worldly goods would still have fulness of 
joy, for his birth outweighs everything else. 6 God is in the 
soul, and yet He is not the soul. The eye is not the piece 
of wood upon which it looks, for when the eye is closed, it is 
the same eye it was before. But if, in the act of looking, the 
eye and the wood should become one, then we might say the 
eye is the wood and the wood is the eye. If the wood were 
a spiritual substance like the eyesight, then, in reality, one 

1 pp. 113, 152, 286, 497, 630. 

2 Die Edelkeit der Seele, Von der WHrdigkett der Seele, Von dem Adel 
der Svelc, Pfeiffer, pp. 382-448. 

p. 640. pp. 168, 207, 286, 846. pp. 44, 478-483. 

252 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

might say eye and wood are one substance. 1 The fundament 
of God's being is the fundament of my being, and the funda- 
ment of my being is the fundament of God's being. Thus I 
live of myself even as God lives of Himself. 2 This beget men t 
of the Son of God in the soul is the source of all true life and 
good works. 

One of the terms which Eckart uses most frequently, to de- 
note God's influence upon the soul, is durchbrechen, to break 
through, and his favorite word for the activity of the soul, as 
it rises into union with God. is AbgeschiedenJieit^ the soul's 
complete detachment of itself from all that is temporal and 
seen. Keep aloof, abgeschieden, he says, from men, from your- 
self, from all that cumbers. Bear God alone in your hearts, 
and then practise fasting, vigils and prayer, and you will come 
unto perfection. This Abgeschiedenheit, total self -detach- 
ment from created things, 3 he says in a sermon on the sub- 
ject, is "the one thing needful." After reading many writ- 
ings by pagan masters and Christian teachers, Eckart came to 
consider it the highest of all virtues, higher than humility, 
higher even than love, which Paul praises as the highest; 
for, while love endures all things, this quality is receptive- 
ness towards God. In the person possessing this quality, the 
worldly has nothing to correspond to itself. This is what 
Paul had reference to when he said, "I live and yet not I, 
for Christ liveth in me." God is Himself perfect Abgeschie- 

In another place, Eckart says that he who has God in 
his soul finds God in all things, and God appears to him out 
of all things. As the thirsty love water, so that nothing 
else tastes good to them, even so it is with the devoted 
soul. In God and God alone is it at rest. God seeks rest, 
and He finds it nowhere but in such a heart. To reach this 

1 Pfeiffer, p. 139. 

2 Hier ist Gottes Grund mein Grund und mein Grund Gottes Grund. Hier 
lebe ich aus meinem Eigenen, wie Gott aus seinem Eigenen lebt. BUttner, 
p. 100. 

8 Lautere, alles Erschaffenen ledige AbgesMedenheit. For the sermon, see 
Bttttner, p. 9 sqq. 


condition of Abgeschiedenheit, it is necessary for the soul 
first to meditate and form an image of God, and then to 
allow itself to be transformed by God. 1 

What, then, some one might say, is the advantage of prayer 
and good works ? In eternity, God saw every prayer and 
every good work, and knew which prayer He could hear. 
Prayers were answered in eternity. God is unchangeable 
and cannot be moved by a prayer. It is we who change 
and are moved. The sun shines, and gives pain or pleasure 
to the eye, according as it is weak or sound. The sun does 
not change. God rules differently in different men. Differ- 
ent kinds of dough are put into the oven; the heat affects 
them differently, and one is taken out a loaf of fine bread, 
and another a loaf of common bread. 

Eckart is emphatic when he insists upon the moral obliga- 
tion resting on God to operate in the soul that is ready to 
receive Him. God must pour Himself into such a man's 
being, as the sun pours itself into the air when it is clear and 
pure. God would be guilty of a great wrong Grebrechen 
if He did not confer a great good upon him whom He 
finds empty and ready to receive Him. Even so Christ said 
of Zaccheus, that He must enter into his house. God first 
works this state in the soul, and He is obliged to reward it 
with the gift of Himself. " When I am blessed, selig^ then 
all things are in me and in God, and where I am, there is 
God, and where God is, there I am." 2 

Nowhere does Eckart come to a distinct definition of justi- 
fication by faith, although he frequently speaks of faith as a 
heavenly gift. On the other hand, he gives no sign of laying 
stress on the penitential system. Everywhere there are 
symptoms in his writings that his piety breathed a different 
atmosphere from the pure mediaeval type. Holy living is 
with him the product of holy being. One must first be 
righteous before he can do righteous acts. Works do not 
sanctify. The righteous soul sanctifies the works. So long 
as one does good works for the sake of the kingdom of heaven 
or for the sake of God or for the sake of salvation or for any 

1 Pfeiffer, II. 484. a Pfeiffer, pp. 27, 32, 479 sq., 647 sq. 

254 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

external cause, he is on the wrong path. Fastings, vigils, 
asceticisms, do not merit salvation. 1 There are places in 
the mystic's writings where we seem to hear Luther himself 

The stress which Eckart lays upon piety, as a matter of 
the heart and the denial to good works of meritorious virtue, 
gave plausible ground for the papal condemnation, that 
Eckart set aside the Church's doctrine of penance, affirming 
that it is not outward acts that make good, but the disposition 
of the soul which God abidingly works in us. John XXII. 
rightly discerned the drift of the mystic's teaching. 

In his treatment of Mary and Martha, Eckart seems to make 
a radical departure from the mediaeval doctrine of the superior 
value of pure contemplation. From the time of Augustine, 
Rachel and Mary of Bethany had been regarded as the repre- 
sentatives of the contemplative and higher life. In his sermon 
on Mary, the German mystic affirmed that Mary was still at 
school. Martha had learned and was engaged in good works, 
serving the Lord. Mary was only learning. She was striv- 
ing to be as holy as her sister. Better to feed the hungry and 
do other works of mercy, he says, than to have the vision of 
Paul and to sit still. After Christ's ascension, Mary learned 
to serve as fully as did Martha, for then the Holy Spirit was 
poured out. One who lives a truly contemplative life will 
show it in active works. A life of mere contemplation is a 
selfish life. The modern spirit was stirring in him. He saw 
another ideal for life than mediaeval withdrawal from the 
world. The breath of evangelical freedom and joy is felt in 
his writings. 2 

Eckart's speculative mind carried him to the verge of pan- 
theism, and it is not surprising that his hyperbolical expres- 
sions subjected him to the papal condemnation. But his 
pantheism was Christian pantheism, the complete union of 

1 Pfeiffer, II. 646, 664, 683, Niht endienent unserin were dar zuo dass uns 
Got iht gebe Oder tuo. 

2 Es geht ein Qeist evangelischer Freiheit durch Eckart's Sittenlehre 
welcher zugleich ein Geist der Freudigkeit ist, Preger, I. 452. See the sermon 
on Mary, Pfeiffer, pp. 47-63. Also pp. 18-21, 607. 


the soul with God. It was not absorption in the divine being 
involving the loss of individuality, but the reception of God- 
hood, the original principle of the Deity. What language 
could better express the idea that God is everything, and 
everything God, than these words, words adopted by Hegel 
as a sort of motto: " The eye with which I see God is the 
same eye with which God sees me. My eye and God's eye 
are the same, and there is but one sight, one apprehension, 
one love." l And yet such language, endangering, as it might 
seem, the distinct personality of the soul, was far better than 
the imperative insistence laid by accredited Church teachers 
on outward rituals and conformity to sacramental rites. 

Harnack and others have made the objection that the Co- 
logne divine does not dwell upon the forgiveness of sins. This 
omission may be overlooked, when we remember the promi- 
nence given in his teaching to regeneration and man's divine 
sonship. His most notable departure from scholasticism 
consists in this, that he did not dwell upon the sacraments 
and the authority of the Church. He addressed himself to 
Christian individuals, and showed concern for their moral and 
spiritual well-being. Abstruse as some of his thinking is, 
there can never be the inkling of a thought that he was set- 
ting forth abstractions of the school and contemplating mat- 
ters chiefly with a scientific eye. He makes the impression 
of being moved by strict honesty of purpose to reach the 
hearts of men. 2 His words glow with the Minne^ or love, of 
which he preached so often. In one feature, however, he 
differed widely from modern writers and preachers. He did 
not dwell upon the historical Christ. With him Christ in us is 
the God in us, and that is the absorbing topic. With all his 
high thinking he felt the limitations of human statement and, 
counselling modesty in setting forth definitions of God, he 

1 Das Auge das da inne ich Gott sehe, das ist selbe Auge da inne mich Gott 
sieht. Mein Auge und Gottes Auge, das ist ein Auge, und ein Erkennen und 
ein Gesicht und ein Minnen, Pfeiffer, p. 312. 

2 This is well expressed by Lasson in Ueberweg, I. 471. Inge says, p. 150, 
Eckart's transparent honesty and his great power of thought, combined with 
deep devoutness and purity of soul, make him one of the most interesting fig- 
ures in the history of Christian philosophy. 

256 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

said, " If we would reach the depth of God's nature, we must 
humble ourselves. He who would know God must first know 

Not a popular leader, not professedly a reformer, this early 
German theologian had a mission in preparing the way for 
the Reformation. The form and contents of his teaching had 
a direct tendency to encourage men to turn away from the 
authority of the priesthood and ritual legalism to the realm 
of inner experience for the assurance of acceptance with God. 
Pfleiderer has gone so far as to say that Eckart's " is the spirit 
of the Reformation, the spirit of Luther, the motion of whose 
wings we already feel, distinctly enough, in the thoughts of 
his older German fellow-citizen." 2 Although he declared his 
readiness to confess any heretical ideas that might have crept 
into his sermons and writings, the judges at Rome were right 
in principle. Eckart's spirit was heretical, provoking revolt 
against the authority of the mediaeval Church and a restate- 
ment of some of the forgotten verities of the New Testament. 

30. John Tauler of Strassburg. 

To do Thy will is more than praise, 

As words are less than deeds ; 
And simple trust can find Thy ways 

We miss with chart of creeds. 

WHITTIER, Our Master. 

Among the admirers of Eckart, the most distinguished were 
John Tauler and Heinrich Suso. With them the speculative 
element largely disappears and the experimental and practical 
elements predominate. They emphasized religion as a matter 
of experience and the rule of conduct. Without denying any 
of the teachings or sacraments of the Church, they made promi- 
nent immediate union with Christ, and dwelt upon the Christian 
graces, especially patience, gentleness and humility. Tauler 
was a man of sober mind, Suso poetical and imaginative. 

1 If eiffer, II. 165, 390. 

2 p. 7. Freger concludes his treatment of Eckart by saying, I. 458, that it 
was he who really laid the foundations of Christian philosophy. Er erst hat 
die christliche Philosophic eigentlich begrttndet. 


John Tauler, called doctor ittuminatus, was born in Strass- 
burg about 1300, and died there, 1361. Referring to his father's 
circumstances, he once said, " If, as my father's son, I had once 
known what I know now, I would have lived from my paternal 
inheritance instead of resorting to alms." 1 Probably as early 
as 1315, he entered the Dominican order. Sometime before 
1330, he went to Cologne to take the usual three-years' course 
of study. That he proceeded from there to Paris for further 
study is a statement not borne out by the evidence. He, 
however, made a visit in the French capital at one period of 
his career. Nor is there sufficient proof that he received the 
title doctor or master, although he is usually called Dr. John 

He was in his native city again when it lay under the in- 
terdict fulminated against it in 1329, during the struggle be- 
tween John XXII. and Lewis the Bavarian. The Dominicans 
offered defiance, continuing to say masses till 1339, when they 
were expelled for three years by the city council. We next 
find Tauler at Basel, where he came into close contact with 
the Friends of God, and their leader, Henry of Nordlingen. 
After laboring as priest in Bavaria, Henry went to the Swiss 
city, where he was much sought after as a preacher by the 
clergy and laymen, men and women. In 1357, Tauler was 
in Cologne, but Strassburg was the chief seat of his activity. 
Among his friends were Christina Ebner, abbess of a convent 
near Niirnberg, and Margaret Ebner, a nun of the Bavarian 
convent of Medingen, women who were mystics and recipi- 
ents of visions. 8 -Tauter died in the guest-chamber of a nun- 
nery in Strassburg, of which his sister was an inmate. 

Tauler's reputation in his own day rested upon his power 
as a preacher, and it is probable that his sermons have been 

1 Preger, III. 131. The oldest Strassburg MS. entitles Tauler erluhtete beg- 
nodete Lerer. See Schmidt, p. 169. Preger, III. 93, gives the names of a 
number of persons by the name of Taweler, or Tawler, living in Strassburg. 

2 Christina wrote a book entitled Von der Gnaden Ueberlast, giving an ac- 
count of the tense life led by the sisters in her convent. She declared that the 
Holy Spirit played on Tauler's heart as upon a lute, and that it had been re- 
vealed to her in a vision that bis fervid tongue would set the earth on fire. 
See Strauch's art. in Herzog, V. 129 sq. Also Preger, II. 247-261, 277 sqq. 

258 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

more widely read in the Protestant Church than those of other 
mediaeval preachers. The reason for this popularity is the 
belief that the preacher was controlled by an evangelical spirit 
which brought him into close affinity with the views of the 
Reformers. His sermons, which were delivered in German, 
are plain statements of truth easily understood, and containing 
little that is allegorical or fanciful. They attempt no display 
of learning or speculative ingenuity. When Tauler quotes 
from Augustine, Gregory the Great, Dionysius, Anselm or 
Thomas Aquinas, as he sometimes does, though not as fre- 
quently as Eckart, he does it in an incidental way. His power 
lay in his familiarity with the Scriptures, his knowledge of 
the human heart, his simple style and his own evident sin- 
cerity. 1 He was a practical e very-day preacher, intent on 
reaching men in their various avocations and trials. 

If we are to follow the History of Tauler s Life and Con- 
science, which appeared in the first published edition of his 
works, 1498, Tauler underwent a remarkable spiritual change 
when he was fifty. 3 Under the influence of Nicolas of Basel, a 
Friend of God from the Oberland, he was then led into a higher 
stage of Christian experience. Already had he achieved the 
reputation of an effective preacher when Nicolas, after hearing 
him several times, told him that he was bound in the letter 
and that, though he preached sound doctrine, he did not feel 
the power of it himself. He called Tauler a Pharisee. The 
rebuked man was indignant, but his monitor replied that he 
lacked humility and that, instead of seeking God's honor, he 
was seeking his own. Feeling the justice of the criticism, 
Tauler confessed he had been told his sins and faults for the 
first time. At Nicolas' advice he desisted from preaching 
for two years, and led a retired life. At the end of that time 
Nicolas visited him again, and bade him resume his sermons. 
Tauler's first attempt, made in a public place and before a 

1 Specklin, the Strassburg chronicler, says Tauler spoke ' in clear tones, 
with real fervor. His aim was to bring men to feel the nothingness of the 
world. He condemned clerics as well as laymen. 11 

3 A translation of the book is given by Miss Winkworth, pp. 1-73. It calls 
Tauler's monitor der groue Gottesfreund im Oberlande. See 32. 


large concourse of people, was a failure. The second sermon 
he preached in a nunnery from the text, Matt. 25: 6, "Behold 
the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him," and so power- 
ful was the impression that 50 persons fell to the ground like 
dead men. During the period of his seclusion, Tauler had 
surrendered himself entirely to God, and after it he continued 
to preach with an unction and efficiency before unknown in 
his experience. 

Some of Tauler's expressions might give the impression 
that he was addicted to quietistic views, as when he speaks of 
being " drowned in the Fatherhood of God," of " melting in 
the fire of His love," of being "intoxicated with God." But 
these tropical expressions, used occasionally, are offset by the 
sober statements in which he portrays the soul's union with 
God. To urge upon men to surrender themselves wholly to 
God and to give a practical exemplification of their union with 
Him in daily conduct was his mission. 

He emphasized the agency of the Holy Spirit, who enlightens 
and sanctifies, who rebukes sin and operates in the heart to 
bring it to self -surrender. 1 The change effected by the Spirit, 
which he called Kehr conversion he dwelt upon con- 
tinually. The word, which frequently occurs in his sermons, 
was almost a new word in medieval sermonic vocabulary. 
Tauler also insisted upon the Eckartian AbgeBchiedenheit^ de- 
tachment from the world, and says that a soul, to become 
holy, must become " barren and empty of all created things," 
and rid of all that "pertains to the creature." When the 
soul is full of the creature, God must of necessity remain apart 
from it, and such a soul is like a barrel that has been filled 
with refuse or decaying matter. It cannot thereafter be 
used for good, generous wine or any other pure drink. 2 

As for good works, if done apart from Christ, they are of 
no avail. Tauler often quoted the words of Isaiah 64 : 6. 
" All our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment." By 

1 One of the sermons, bringing out the influence of the Spirit, based on 
John 16 : 7-1 1, is quoted at length by Archdeacon Hare in his Mission of the 
Comforter. See also Miss Winkwortb, pp. 350-368, 

9 Inner Way, pp. 81, 113, 128, 180. 

260 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

his own power, man cannot come unto God. Those who 
have never felt anxiety on account of their sins are in the 
most dangerous condition of all. 1 

The sacraments suffer no depreciation at Tauler's hands, 
though they are given a subordinate place. They are all 
of no avail without the change of the inward man. Good 
people linger at the outward symbols, and fail to get at 
the inward truth symbolized. Yea, by being unduly con- 
cerned about their movements in the presence of the Lord's 
body, they miss receiving him spiritually. Men glide, he 
says, through fasting, prayer, vigils and other exercises, and 
take so much delight in them that God has a very small 
part in their hearts, or no part in them at all. 3 

In insisting upon the exercise of a simple faith, it seems 
almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that Tauler took 
an attitude of intentional opposition to the prescient and self- 
confident methods of scholasticism. It is better to possess 
a simple faith einfaltiger Glaube than to vainly pry into 
the secrets of God, asking questions about the efflux and re- 
flux of the Aught and Nought, or about the essence of the 
soul's spark. The Arians and Sabellians had a marvellous 
intellectual understanding of the Trinity, and Solomon and 
Origen interested the Church in a marvellous way, but what 
became of them we know not. The chief thing is to yield 
oneself to God's will and to follow righteousness with 
sincerity of purpose. " Wisdom is not studied in Paris, but 
in the sufferings of the Lord," Tauler said. The great 
masters of Paris read large books, and that is well. But 
the people who dwell in the inner kingdom of the soul 
read the true Book of Life. A pure heart is the throne of 
the Supreme Judge, a lamp bearing the eternal light, a 
treasury of divine riches, a storehouse of heavenly sweetness, 
the sanctuary of the only begotten Son. 8 

A distinctly democratic element showed itself in Tauler's 
piety and preaching which is very attractive. He put honor 

i Mifls Winkworth, pp. 853, 475, etc. 

* Inner Way, p. 200. Miss Winkworth, pp. 845, 860 aqq. 

9 Preger, III. 182 ; Misa Winkworth, p. 848. 


upon all legitimate toil, and praised good and faithful work 
as an expression of true religion. One, he said, " can spin, 
another can make shoes, and these are the gifts of the Holy 
Ghost ; and I tell you that, if I were not a priest, I should 
este'em it a great gift to be able to make shoes, and would 
try to make them so well as to become a pattern to all." 
Fidelity in one's avocation is more than attendance upon 
church. He spoke of a peasant whom he knew well for 
more than forty years. On being asked whether he should 
give up his work and go and sit in church, the Lord replied 
no, he should win his bread by the sweat of his brow, and 
thus he would honor his own precious blood. The sym- 
pathetic element in his piety excluded the hard spirit of 
dogmatic complacency. " I would rather bite my tongue," 
Tauler said, "till it bleed, than pass judgment upon any 
man. Judgment we should leave to God, for out of the 
habit of sitting in judgment upon one's neighbor grow 
self-satisfaction and arrogance, which are of the devil." 1 

It was these features, and especially Tauler's insistence 
upon the religious exercises of the soul and the excellency 
of simple faith, that won Luther's praise, first in letters to 
Lange and Spalatin, written in 1516. To Spalatin he wrote 
that he had found neither in the Latin nor German tongue 
a more wholesome theology than Tauler's, or one more con- 
sonant with the Gospel. 2 

The mood of the heretic, however, was furthest from 
Tauler. Strassburg knew what heresy was, and had proved 
her orthodoxy by burning heretics. Tauler was not of their 
number. He sought to call a narrow circle away from the 
formalities of ritual to close communion with God, but the 
Church was to him a holy mother. In his reverence for 
the Virgin, he stood upon mediaeval ground. Preaching on 

i Preger, III. 131 ; Miss Winkworth, p. 355. 

8 Kostlin, Life of M. Luther, I. 117 sq., 126. Melanchthon, in the Preface 
to the Franf. ed of Tauler said : " Among the moderns, Tauler is easily the 
first. I hear, however, that there are some who dare to deny the Christian 
teaching of this highly esteemed man. 19 Beza was of a different mind, and 
called Tauler a visionary. See Schmidt, p. 160. Preger, III. 194, goes so far 
as to say that Tauler clearly taught the evangelical doctrine of justification. 

262 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

the Annunciation, he said that in her spirit was the heaven 
of God, in her soul His paradise, in her body His palace. 
By becoming the mother of Christ, she became the daughter 
of the Father, the mother of the Son, the Holy Spirit's bride. 
She was the second Eve, who restored all that the first Eve 
lost, and Tauler does not hesitate to quote some of Bernard's 
passionate words pronouncing Mary the sinner's mediator 
with Christ. He himself sought her intercession. If any 
one could have seen into her heart, he said, he would have 
seen God in all His glory. 1 

Though he was not altogether above the religious perver- 
sions of the mediaeval Church, John Tauler has a place 
among the godly leaders of the Church universal, who have 
proclaimed the virtue of simple faith and immediate commun- 
ion with God and the excellency of the unostentatious prac- 
tice of righteousness from day to day. He was an expounder 
of the inner life, and strikes the chord of fellowship in all who 
lay more stress upon pure devotion and daily living than upon 
ritual exercises. A spirit congenial to his was Whittier, whose 
undemonstrative piety poured itself out in hearty appreciation 
of his unseen friend of the fourteenth century. The modern 
Friend represents the mysterious stranger, who pointed out to 
Tauler the better way, as saying ; 

What hell may be, I know not. This I know, 
I cannot lose the presence of the Lord. 
One arm, Humility, takes hold u|>on 
His dear humanity ; the other, Love, 
Clasps His divinity. So where 1 go 
He goes ; and better fire-walled hell with Him 
Than golden-gated Paradise without. 
Said Tauler, 

My prayer is answered. God hath sent the man, 
Long sought, to teach me, by his simple trust, 
Wisdom the weary Schoolmen never knew. 

31. Henry Su*o. 

Henry Suso, 1295 7-1366, a man of highly emotional 
nature, has on the one hand been treated as a hysterical 
1 Tke Inner fTay, p. 67 Bqq., 77 sqq. 

81. HENRY SUSO. 263 

visionary, and on the other as the author of the most finished 
product of German mysticism. Born on the Lake of Con- 
stance, and perhaps in Constance itself, he was of noble 
parentage, but on the death of his mother, abandoned his 
father's name, Berg, and adopted his mother's maiden name, 
Seuse, Suso being the Latin form. 1 At thirteen, he entered 
the Dominican convent at Constance, and from his eighteenth 
year on gave himself up to the most exaggerated and painful 
asceticisms. At twenty-eight, he was studying at Cologne, 
and later at Strassburg. 

For supporting the pope against Lewis the Bavarian, the 
Dominicans in Constance came into disfavor, and were ban- 
ished from the city. Suso retired to Diessehoven, where he 
remained, 1339-1346, serving as prior. During this period, 
he began to devote himself to preaching. The last eighteen 
years of his life were spent in the Dominican convent at 
Ulm, where he died, Jan. 25, 1366. He was beatified by 
Gregory XVI., 1831. 

Suso's constitution, which was never strong, was under- 
mined by the rigorous penitential discipline to which lie 
subjected himself for twenty-two years. An account of it 
is given in his Autobiography. Its severity, so utterly 
contrary to the spirit of our time, was so excessive that 
Suso's statements seem at points to be almost incredible. 
The only justification for repeating some of the details is to 
show the lengths to which the penitential system of the 
Medieval Church was carried by devotees. Desiring to 
carry the marks of the Lord Jesus, Suso pricked into his bare 
chest, with a sharp instrument, the monogram of Christ, 
IHS. The three letters remained engraven there till his 
dying day and, " Whenever my heart moved," as he said, " the 
name moved also." At one time he saw in a dream rays of 
glory illuminating the scar. 

He wore a hair shirt and an iron chain. The loss of blood 
forced him to put the chain aside, but for the hair shirt he 
substituted an undergarment, studded with 150 sharp tacks. 

1 Bihlmeyer, p. 65, decides for 1295 as the probable date of Suso's birth. 
Other writers put it forward to 1300. 

264 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

This he wore day and night, its points turned inwards to- 
wards his body. Often, he said, it made the impression on 
him as if he were lying in a nest of wasps. When he saw his 
body covered with vermin, and yet he did not die, he exclaimed 
that the murderer puts to death at one stroke, " but alas, O 
tender God, zarter Q-ott^ what a dying is this of mine I " 
Yet this was not enough. Suso adopted the plan of tying 
around his neck a part of his girdle. To this he attached 
two leather pockets, into which he thrust his hands. These 
he made fast with lock and key till the next morning. This 
kind of torture he continued to practise for sixteen years, 
when he abandoned it in obedience to a heavenly vision. 
How little had the piety of the Middle Ages succeeded in 
correcting the perverted views of the old hermits of the 
Nitrian desert, whose stories this Swiss monk was in the 
habit of reading, and whose austerities he emulated ! 

God, however, had not given any intimation of disapproval 
of ascetic discipline, and so Suso, in order further to impress 
upon his body marks of godliness, bound against his back a 
wooden cross, to which, in memory of the 30 wounds of 
Christ, he affixed 30 spikes. On this instrument of torture 
he stretched himself at night for 8 years. The last year 
he affixed to it 7 sharp needles. For a long time he went 
through 2 penitential drills a day, beating with his fist upon 
the cross as it hung against his back, while the needles and nails 
penetrated into his flesh, and the blood flowed down to his feet. 
As if this were not a sufficient imitation of the flagellation 
inflicted upon Christ, he rubbed vinegar and salt into his 
wounds to increase his agony. His feet became full of sores, 
his legs swelled as if he had had the dropsy, his flesh became 
dry and his hands trembled as if palsied. And all this, as he 
says, he endured out of the great inner love which he had for 
God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, whose agonizing pains he 
wanted to imitate. For 25 years, cold as the winter might be, 
he entered no room where there was a fire, and for the same 
period he abstained from all bathing, water baths or sweat 
baths Wasserbad und Schweissbad. But even with this list of 
self-mortifications, Suso said, the whole of the story was not told. 

81. HENRY 8USO, 265 

In his fortieth year, when his physical organization had 
been reduced to a wreck, so that nothing remained but to die 
or to desist from the discipline, God revealed to him that his 
long-practised austerity was only a good beginning, a break- 
ing up of his untamed humanity, Ein DurMrechen seines 
ungebrochenen Menschen, and that thereafter he would have 
to try another way in order to "get right." And so he pro- 
ceeded to macerations of the inner man, and learned the les- 
sons which asceticisms of the soul can impart. 

Suso nowhere has words of condemnation for such barbar- 
ous self-imposed torture, a method of pleasing God which 
the Reformation put aside in favor of saner rules of piety. 

Other sufferings came upon Suso, but not of his own in- 
fliction. These he bore with Christian submission, and the 
evils involved he sought to rectify by services rendered to 
others. His sister, a nun, gave way to temptation. Over- 
coming his first feelings of indignation, Suso went far and near 
in search of her, and had the joy of seeing her rescued to a 
worthy life, and adorned with all religious virtues. Another 
cross he had to bear was the charge that he was the father of 
an unborn child, a charge which for a time alienated Henry 
of Nordlingen and other close friends. He bore the insinua- 
tion without resentment, and even helped to maintain the 
child after it was born. 

Suso's chief writings, which abound in imagery and com- 
parisons drawn from nature, are an Autobiography, 1 and 
works on The Eternal Wisdom JZiichlein von der ewigen 
Weisheit and the Truth Suchlein von der Wahrheit. To 
these are to be added his sermons and letters. 

The Autobiography came to be preserved by chance. At 
the request of Elsbet Staglin, Suso told her a number of his 
experiences. This woman, the daughter of one of the lead- 
ing men of Zurich, was an inmate of the convent of Tosse, 
near Winterthur. When Suso discovered that she had com- 
mitted his conversations to writing, he treated her act as "a 

1 It contains 68 chapters. Diepenbrock's ed. , pp. 137-306 ; Bihlmeyer's ed. , 
pp. 1-195. Diepenbrock's edition has the advantage for the modern reader 
of being transmuted into modern German. 

266 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

spiritual theft," and burnt a part of the manuscript. The 
remainder he preserved, in obedience to a supernatural com- 
munication, and revised. Suso appears in the book as " The 
Servant of the Eternal Wisdom." 

The Autobiography is a spiritual self-revelation in which the 
author does not pretend to follow the outward stages of his 
career. In addition to the facts of his religious experience, 
he sets forth a number of devotional rules containing much 
wisdom, and closes with judicious and edifying remarks on 
the being of God, which he gave to Elsbet in answer to her 
questions. 1 

The Book of the Eternal Wisdom, which is in the form of 
a dialogue between Christ, the Eternal Wisdom, and the 
writer, has been called by Denifle, who bore Suso's name, the 
consummate fruit of German mysticism. It records, in Ger- 
man, 2 meditations in which use is made of the Scriptures. 
Here we have a body of experimental theology such as ruled 
among the more pious spirits in the German convents of the 
fourteenth century. 

Suso declares that one who is without love is as unable to 
understand a tongue that is quick witli love as one speaking 
in German is unable to understand a Fleming, or as one who 
hears a report of the music of a harp is unable to understand 
the feelings of one who has heard the music with his own 
ears. The Saviour is represented as saying that it would be 
easier to bring back the years of the past, revive the withered 
flowers or collect all the droplets of rain than to measure 
the love Minne he has for men. 

The Servant, after lamenting the hardness of heart which 
refuses to be moved by the spectacle of the cross and the 
love of God, seeks to discover how it is that God can at once 
be so loving and so severe. As for the pains of hell, the 
lost are represented as exclaiming, " Oh, how we desire that 

1 A translation of these definitions is given by Inge, in Light, Life and 
Love, pp. 66-82. 

3 Suso made a revision of bis work in Latin under the title Horologium 
eternal sapientfa, a copy of which Tauler seems to have had in his possession. 
Preger, II. 324. 

81. HENRY SU8O. 267 

there might be a millstone as wide as the earth and reaching 
to all parts of heaven, and that a little bird might alight every 
ten thousand years and peck away a piece of stone as big as 
the tenth part of a millet seed and continue to peck away 
every ten thousandth year until it had pecked away a piece 
as big as a millet seed, and then go on pecking at the same 
rate until the whole stone were pecked away, so only our 
torture might come to an end; but that cannot be." 

Having dwelt upon the agony of the cross and God's im- 
measurable love, the bliss of heaven and the woes of hell, 
Suso proceeds to set forth the dignity of suffering. He had 
said in his Autobiography that " every lover is a martyr," l 
and here the Eternal Wisdom declares that if all hearts were 
become one heart, that heart could not bear the least reward 
he has chosen to give in eternity as a compensation for the 
least suffering endured out of love for himself. . . . This is 
an eternal law of nature that what is true and good must be 
harvested with sorrow. There is nothing more joyous than 
to have endured suffering. Suffering is short pain and pro- 
longed joy. Suffering gives pain here and blessedness here- 
after. Suffering destroys suffering Leiden todtet Leiden. 
Suffering exists that the sufferer may not suffer. He who 
could weigh time and eternity in even balances would rather 
lie in a glowing oven for a hundred years than to miss in eter- 
nity the least reward given for the least suffering, for the suffer- 
ing in the oven would have an end, but the reward is forever. 

After dwelling upon the advantages of contemplation as 
the way of attaining to the heavenly life, the Eternal Wisdom 
tells Suso how to die both the death of the body and the soul; 
namely, by penance and by self-detachment from all the things 
of the earth Entbrechen von alien Dingen. An unconverted 
man is introduced in the agonies of dying. His hands grow 
cold, his face pales, his eyes begin to lose their sight. The 
prince of terrors wrestles with his heart and deals it hard blows. 
The chill sweat of death creeps over his body and starts 
haggard fears. " O angry countenance of the severe Judge, 
how sharp are thy judgments ! " he exclaims. In imagination, 
i Bihlmeyer's ed., p. 13. 

268 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

or with real sight, he beholds the host of black Moors approach- 
ing to see whether he belongs to them, and then the beasts of 
hell surrounding him. He sees the hot flames rising up above 
the denizens of purgatory, and hears them cry out that the 
least of their tortures is greater than the keenest suffering 
endured by martyr on the earth. And that a day there is as 
a hundred years. They exclaim, "Now we roast, now we 
simmer and now we cry out in vain for help." The dying 
man then passes into the other world, calling out for help to 
the friends whom he had treated well on the earth, but in vain. 

The treatise, which closes with excellent admonitions on the 
duty of praising God continually, makes a profound spiritual 
impression, but it presents only one side of the spiritual life, 
and needs to be supplemented and expurgated in order to pre- 
sent a proper picture. Christ came into the world that we 
might have everlasting life now, and that we might have 
abundance of life, and that his joy might remain in us and our 
joy might be full. The patient endurance of suffering puri- 
fies the soul and the countenance, but suffering is not to be 
counted as always having a sanctifying power, much less is it 
to be courted. Macerations have no virtue of themselves, and 
patience in enduring pain is only one of the Christian virtues, 
and not their crown. Love, which is the bond of perfectness, 
finds in a cheerful spirit, in hearty human fellowships and in 
well-doing also, its ministries. The mediaeval type of piety 
turned the earth into a vale of tears. It was cloistral. For 
nearly 30 years, as Suso tells us, he never once broke through 
the rule of silence at table. 1 Innocent III. could write, just 
before becoming world-ruler, a treatise on the contempt of the 
world. The piety of the modern Church is of a cheerful type, 
and sees good everywhere in this world which God created. 
Suso's piety was what the Germans have called the mysticism 
of suffering die Mystik des Leidens. His way of self-in- 
flicted torture was the wrong way. In going, however, with 
Suso we will not fail to reach some of the heights of religious 
experience and to find nearness to God. 

Suso kept company with the Friends of God, and acknowl- 

1 Autobiog., ch. XIV, Bihlmeyer's ed., p. 88. 


edged his debt to Eckart, " the high teacher," " his high and 
holy master," from whose " sweet teachings he had taken deep 
draughts." As he says in his Autobiography , he went to 
Eckart in a time of spiritual trial, and was helped by him out 
of the hell of distress into which he had fallen. He uses some 
of Eckart's distinctive vocabulary, and after the Cologne 
mystic's death, Suso saw him " in exceeding glory " and was 
admonished by him to submission. This quality forms the 
subject of Suso's Book on the Truth^ which in part was meant 
to be a defence of his spiritual teacher. 

A passage bearing on the soul's union with Christ will serve 
as a specimen of Suso's tropical style, and may fitly close this 
chapter. The soul, so the Swiss mystic represents Christ as 

" the soul that would find me in the inner closet of a consecrated and self- 
detached life, abgeschiedenes Leben, and would partake of my sweet- 
ness, must first be purified from evil and adorned with virtues, be decked 
with the red roses of passionate love, with the beautiful violets of meek 
submission, and must be strewn with the white lilies of purity. It shall 
embrace me with its arms, excluding all other loves, for these I shun and 
flee as the bird does the cage. This soul shall sing to me the song of 
Zion, which means passionate love combined with boundless praise. 
Then I will embrace it and it shall lean upon my heart." 1 

32. The Friends of God. 

The Friends of God attract our interest both by the sug- 
gestion of religious fervor involved in their name and the re- 
spect with which the prominent mystics speak of them. They 
are frequently met within the writings of Eckart, Tauler, Suso, 
and Ruysbroeck, as well as in the pages of other writers of the 
fourteenth century. Much mystery surrounds them, and ef- 
forts have failed to define with precision their teachings, 
numbers and influence. The name had been applied to the 
Waldenses, 2 but in the fourteenth century it came to be a des- 
ignation for coteries of pietists scattered along the Rhine, from 
Basel to Strassburg and to the Netherlands, laymen and 
priests who felt spiritual longings the usual church services 
did not satisfy. They did not constitute an organized sect. 

* Von der wigen Weisheit, Bihlmeyer's ed., p. 296 sq. 

* Preger, 111. 870 ; Strauch, p. 206. 

270 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

They were addicted to the study of the Scriptures, and sought 
close personal fellowship with God. They laid stress upon 
a godly life and were bent on the propagation of holiness. 
Their name was derived from John 16 : 15, " Henceforth 1 
call you not servants, but I have called you friends." Their 
practices did not involve a breach with the Church and its 
ordinances. They had no sympathy with heresy, and antag- 
onized the Brethren of the Free Spirit. The little treatise, 
called the Q-erman Theology, at the outset marks the differ- 
ence between the Friends of God and the false, free spirits, 
especially the Beghards. 1 

A letter written by a Friend to another Friend 2 represents 
as succinctly as any statement their aim when it says, " The 
soul that loves God must get away from the world, from the 
flesh and all sensual desires and away from itself, that is, away 
from its own self-will, and thus does it make ready to hear 
the message of the work and ministry of love accomplished 
by our Lord Jesus Christ." The house which Rulman Mers- 
win founded in Strassburg was declared to be a house of 
refuge for honorable persons, priests and laymen who, with 
trust in God, choose to flee the world and seek to improve 
their lives. The Friends of God regarded themselves as 
holding the secret of the Christian life and as being the salt 
of the earth, the instructors of other men. 8 

Among the leading Friends of God were Henry of Nord- 
lingen, Nicolas of Lowen, Rulman Merswin and " the great 
Friend of God from the Oberland." The personality of the 
Friend of God from the Oberland is one of the most evasive in 
the religious history of the Middle Ages. He is presented as 
a leader of great personal power and influence, as the man 
who determined Tauler's conversion and wrote a number of 
tracts, and yet it is doubtful whether such a personage ever 
lived. Rulman Merswin affirms that he had been widely 
active between Basel and Strassburg and in the region of 
Switzerland, from which he got his name, the Oberland. In 

1 See Rulman Merowin's condemnation of the Beguinea and Beghards in 
the Nine Socks, chs. XIII., XIV. AB pr i nt ed by Preger, IIL 417 sq. 

8 See the last chapter of R. Merawin's Nine Rock*. 


1377, according to the same authority, he visited Gregory XI. 
in Rome and, like Catherine of Siena, petitioned the pontiff 
to set his face against the abuses of Christendom. Rulman 
was in correspondence with him for a long period, and held 
his writings secret until within four years of his (Rulman's) 
death, when he published them. They were 17 in number, 
all of them bearing on the nature and necessity of a true 
conversion of heart. 1 

This mystic from the Oberland, as Rulman's account goes, 
led a life of prayer and devotion, and found peace, performed 
miracles and had visions. He is placed by Preger at the 
side of Peter Waldo as one of the most influential laymen of 
the Middle Ages, a priest, though unordained, of the Church. 
After Rulman's death, we hear no more of him. 

Rulman Merswin, the editor of the Oberland prophet's 
writings, was born in Strassburg, 1307, and died there, 1382. 
He gave up merchandise and devoted himself wholly to a 
religious life. He had undergone the change of conversion 
Kehr. For four years he had a hard struggle against 
temptations, and subjected himself to severe asceticisms, but 
was advised by his confessor, Tauler, to desist, at least for a 
time. It was towards the end of this period that he met the 
man from the Oberland. After his conversion, he purchased 
and fitted up an old cloister, located on an island near Strass- 
burg, called dasgriine W&rti to serve as a refuge for clerics and 
laymen who wished to follow the principles of the Friends of 
God and live together for the purpose of spiritual culture. In 
1370, after the death of his wife, Rulman himself became an 
inmate of the house, which was put under the care of the 
Knights of St. John a year later. Here he continued to ex- 
hort by pen and word till his death. He lies buried at the 
side of his wife in Strassburg. 

Merswin's two chief writings are entitled Das Bannerbiich- 

1 The two leading writings are Das Buck von den zwei Mannen, an account 
of the first five years immediately succeeding the author's con version, and given 
in Schmidt's JVic. von Basel, pp. 205-277, and Das Buck von denfdnfMannen, 
in which the Oberlander gives an account of his own life and the lives of his 
friends. For the full list of the writings, see Preger, III. 270 sqq., and 
Strauch, p. 209 sqq. 

272 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Zein, the Banner-book, and Das Such von den neun Felsen, the 
Nine Rocks. The former is an exhortation to flee from the 
banner of Lucifer and to gather under the blood-red banner 
of Christ. 1 The Nine Rocks^ written in the form of a dia- 
logue, 1352, opens with a parable, describing innumerable 
fishes swimming down from the lakes among the hills through 
the streams in the valleys into the deep sea. The author 
then sees them attempting to find their way back to the hills. 
These processes illustrate the career of human souls depart- 
ing from God into the world and seeking to return to Him. 
The author also sees a " fearfully high mountain," on which 
are nine rocks. The souls that succeed in getting back to 
the mountain are so few that it seemed as if only one out of 
every thousand reached it. He then proceeds to set forth 
the condition of the eminent of the earth, popes and kings, 
cardinals and princes; and also priests, monks and nuns, Be- 
guines and Beghards, and people of all sorts and classes. 
He finds the conditions very bad, and is specially severe on 
women who, by their show of dress and by their manners, are 
responsible for men going morally astray and falling into sin. 
Many of these women commit a hundred mortal sins a day. 

Rulman then returns to the nine rocks, which represent the 
nine stages of progress towards the source of our being, God. 
Those who are on the rocks have escaped the devil's net, and 
by climbing on up to the last rock, they reach perfection. 
Those on the fifth rock have gained the point where they 
have completely given up their own self-will. The sixth 
rock represents full submission to God. On the ninth the 
number is so small that there seemed to be only three persons 
on it. These have no desire whatever except to honor God, 
fear not hell nor purgatory, nor enemy nor death nor life. 

The Friends of God, who are bent on something more than 
their own salvation, are depicted in the valley below, striv- 
ing to rescue souls from the net in which they have been 
ensnared. The Brethren of the Free Spirit resist this merci- 
ful procedure. 

1 See Preger, III. 340 sqq. C. Schmidt gives the text, as does also Diepen- 
brook, H. Su*o, pp. 505-672. 


The presentation is crude, and Scripture is not directly 
quoted. The biblical imagery, however, abounds, and, as 
in the case of the ancient allegory of Hermas, the principles 
of the Gospel are set forth in a way adapted, no doubt, to 
reach a certain class of minds, even as in these modern days 
the methods of the Salvation Army appeal to many for 
whom the discourses of Bernard or Gerson might have little 
meaning. 1 

Rulman Merswin is regarded by Denifle, Strauch and other 
critics as the author of the works ascribed to the Friend of 
God from the Oberland, and the inventor of this fictitious 
personage. 3 The reason for this view is that no one else 
knows of the Oberlander and that, after Rulman's death, 
attempts on the part of the Strassburg brotherhood to find 
him, or to find out something about him, resulted in failure. 
On the other hand, it is difficult to understand why Rulman 
did not continue to keep his writings secret till after his own 
death, if the Oberlander was a fictitious character. 8 

Whatever may be the outcome of the discussion over the 
historic personality of the man from the Oberland, we have 
in the writings of these two men a witness to the part lay- 
men were taking in the affairs of the Church. 

33. John of Ruysbroeck. 

Independent of the Friends of God, and yet closely allied 
with them in spirit, was Jan von Ruysbroeck, 1293-1381. 
In 1350, he sent to the Friends in Strassburg his Adorn- 
ment of the Spiritual Marriage Chierheit der gheesteleker 

1 Strauch, p. 208, and others regard Merswin's works as in large part 
compilations from Tauler and other writers. Strauch pronounces their 
contents garrulous geschwatzig. The Nine Rocks used to be printed 
with Suso's works. Merswin's authorship was established by Schmidt. 

a Rulman hat den Qottesfreund einfach erfunden. Strauch, p. 217. 

1 Preger and Schmidt are the chief spokesmen for the historic personality 
of the man from the Oberland. Rieder has recently relieved Rulman from 
the stain of forgery, and placed the responsibility upon Nicolas of Lowen, 
who entered das griine Wort in 1306. The palaeographic consideration is 
emphasized, that is, the resemblance between Nicolas 1 handwriting and the 
script of the reputed Oberlander. 

274 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

Brulockb. He forms a connecting link between them and 
the Brothers of the Common Life. The founder of the lat- 
ter brotherhood, de Groote, and also Tauler, visited him. 
He was probably acquainted with Eckart's writings, which 
were current in the Lowlands. 1 

The Flemish mystic was born in a village of the same name 
near Brussels, and became vicar of St. Gudula in that city. 
At sixty he abandoned the secular priesthood and put on the 
monastic habit, identifying himself with the recently estab- 
lished Augustinian convent Groenendal, Green Valley, 
located near Waterloo. Here he was made prior. Ruys- 
broeck spent most of his time in contemplation, though he 
was not indifferent to practical duties. On his walks through 
the woods of Soignes, he believed he saw visions and he was 
otherwise the subject of revelations. He was not a man of the 
schools. Soon after his death, a fellow- Augustinian wrote 
his biography, which abounds in the miraculous element. 
The very trees under which he sat were illuminated with an 
aureole. At his passing away, the bells of the convent rang 
without hands touching them, and perfume proceeded from 
his dead body. 

The title, doctor ecstaticus, which at an early period was 
associated with Ruysbroeck, well names his characteristic 
trait. He did not speculate upon the remote theological 
themes of God's being as did Eckart, nor was he a popular 
preacher of every-day Christian living, like Tauler. He 
was a master of the contemplative habit, and mused upon 
the soul's experiences in its states of partial or complete 
union with God. His writings, composed in his mother- 
tongue, were translated into Latin by his pupils, Groote and 

1 The extent to which Eckart influenced the mystics of the Lowlands is a 
matter of dispute. The clergy strove to keep his works from circulation. 
Langenberg, p. 181, quotes Gerherd Zerbold von ZUtphen's, d. 1398, tract, De 
libris Teutonicalibus, which takes the position that, while wholesome books 
might be read in the vulgar tongue, Eckart's works and sermons were ex- 
ceedingly pernicious, and not to be read by the laity. Langenberg, pp. 184-204, 
gives descriptions and excerpts from four MSS. of Eckart's writings in Low 
German, copied in the convent of Nazareth, near Bredevoorde, and now pre- 
served in the royal library of Berlin, but they do not give Eckart as the 


William Jordaens. The chief products of his pen are the 
Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage, the Mirror of Blessed- 
ness and Samuel, which is a defence of the habit of contem- 
plation, and the Glistening Stone, an allegorical meditation 
on the white stone of Rev. 2 : 17, which is interpreted to 
mean Christ. 

Ruysbroeck laid stress upon ascetic exercises, but more 
upon love. In its highest stages of spiritual life, the soul 
comes to God "without an intermediary." The name and 
work of Christ are dwelt upon on every page. He is our 
canon, our breviary, our every-day book, and belongs to 
laity and clergy alike. He was concerned to have it under- 
stood that he has no sympathy with pantheism, and opposed 
the heretical views of the Brethren of the Free Spirit and 
the Beghards. He speaks of four sorts of heretics, the marks 
of one of them being that they despise the ordinances and 
sacraments of the Catholic Church, the Scriptures and the 
sufferings of Christ, and set themselves above God himself. 
He, however, did not escape the charge of heresy. Gerson, 
who received a copy of the Spiritual Marriage from a Car- 
thusian monk of Bruges, found the third book teaching 
pantheism, and wrote a tract in which he complained that 
the author, whom he pronounced an unlearned man, followed 
his feelings in setting forth the secrets of the religious life. 
Gerson was, however, persuaded that he had made a mistake 
by the defence written by John of Schoenhofen, one of the 
brethren of Groenendal. However, in his reply written 1408, 
he again emphasized that Ruysbroeck was a man without 
learning, and complained that he had not made his meaning 
sufficiently clear. 1 

The Spiritual Marriage, Ruysbroeck's chief contribution 
to mystical literature, is a meditation upon the words of the 
parable, " Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet 
him." It sets forth three stages of Christian experience, the 

1 Engelhardt, pp. 265-297, gives a full statement of the controversy. For 
Gerson's letters to Bartholomew and Schoenhofen and Schoenhofen's letter, 
see Du Pin, Works of Gerson, pp. 29-82. Maeterlinck, p. 4, refers to the 
difficulty certain passages in Ruysbroeck's writings offer to the interpreter. 

276 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

active, the inner and the contemplative. In the active stage 
the soul adopts the Christian virtues and practises them, fight- 
ing against sin, and thus it goes out " to meet the bridegroom." 
We must believe the articles of the Creed, but not seek to fully 
understand them. And the more subtle doctrines of the Scrip- 
ture we should accept and explain as they are interpreted by 
the life of Christ and the lives of his saints. Man should study 
nature, the Scriptures and all created things, and draw from 
them profit. To understand Christ he must, like Zaccheus, 
run ahead of all the manifestations of the creature world, and 
climb up the tree of faith, which has twelve branches, the 
twelve articles of the Creed. 

As for the inner life, it is distinguished from the active by 
devotion to the original Cause and to truth itself as against 
devotion to exercises and forms, to the celebration of the 
sacrament and to good works. Here the soul separates itself 
from outward relations and created forms, and contemplates 
the eternal love of God. Asceticism may still be useful, but 
it is not essential. 

The contemplative stage few reach. Here the soul is trans- 
ferred into a purity and brightness which is above all natural 
intelligence. It is a peculiar adornment and a heavenly 
crown. No one can reach it by learning and intellectual 
subtlety nor by disciplinary exercises. In order to attain to 
it, three things are essential. A man must live virtuously; 
he must, like a fire that never goes out, love God constantly, 
and he must lose himself in the darkness in which men of the 
contemplative habit no longer find their way by the methods 
known to the creature. In the abyss of this darkness a light 
incomprehensible is begotten, the Son of God, in whom we 
44 see eternal life." 

At last the soul comes into essential unity with God, and, 
in the fathomless ocean of this unity, all things are seized 
with bliss. It is the dark quiet in which all who love God 
lose themselves. Here they swim in the wild waves of the 
ocean of God's being. 1 

1 1 have followed the German text given by Lambert, pp. 3-160. Selec- 
tions, well translated into English, are given in Light, Life and Love. 


He who would follow the Flemish mystic in these utter- 
ances must have his spirit. They seem far removed from the 
calm faith which leaves even the description of such ecstatic 
states to the future, and is content with doing the will of God 
in the daily avocations of this earthly life. Expressions he 
uses, such as " spiritual intoxication," * are not safe, and the 
experiences he describes are, as he declares, not intended for 
the body of Christian people to reach here below. In most 
men they would take the forms of spiritual hysteria and the 
hallucinations of hazy self -consciousness. It is well that Ruys- 
broeck's greatest pupil, de Groote, did not follow along this 
line of meditation, but devoted himself to practical questions 
of every-day living and works of philanthropy. The ecstatic 
mood is characteristic of this mystic in the secluded home in 
Brabant, but it is not the essential element in his religious 
thought. His descriptions of Christ and his work leave little 
to be desired. He does not dwell upon Mary, or even men- 
tion her in his chief work. He insists upon the works which 
proceed from genuine love to God. The chapter may be 
closed with two quotations : 

" Even devotion must give way to a work of love to the spiritual and 
to the physical man. For even should one rise in prayer higher than 
Peter or Paul, and hear that a poor man needed a drink of water, he 
would have to cease from the devotional exercise, sweet though it were, 
and do the deed of love. It is well pleasing to God that we leave Him 
in order to help His members. In this sense the Apostle was willing to 
be banished from Christ for his brethren's sake." 

" Always before thou retire at night, read three books, which thou 
oughtest always to have with thee. The first is an old, gray, ugly volume, 
written over with black ink. The second is white and beautifully written 
in red, and the third in glittering gold letters. First read the old volume. 
That means, consider thine own past life, which is full of sins and errors, 
as are the lives of all men. Retire within thyself and read the book of 
conscience, which will be thrown open at the last judgment of Christ. 
Think over how badly thou bast lived, how negligent thou hast been in 
thy words, deeds, wishes and thoughts. Cast down thy eyes and cry, 
* God be merciful to me a sinner/ Then God will drive away fear and 
anxious concern and will give thee hope and faith. Then lay the old 
book aside and go and fetch from memory the white book. This is the 

i See Lambert, pp. 62, 63, etc. 

278 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

guileless life of Christ, whose soul was pure and whose guileless body 
was bruised with stripes and marked with rose-red, precious blood. These 
are the letters which show his real love to us. Look at them with deep 
emotion and thank him that, by his death, he has opened to thee the gate 
of heaven. And finally lift up thine eyes on high and read the third book, 
written in golden script ; that is, consider the glory of the life eternal, in 
comparison with which the earthly vanishes away as the light of the 
candle before the splendor of the sun at midday/' 1 

34. Gerrit de Groote and the Brothers of the Common Life. 

It was fortunate for the progress of religion, that mysticism 
in Holland and Northwestern Germany did not confine itself 
to the channel into which it had run at Groenendal. In the 
latter part of the fourteenth century, and before Ruysbroeck's 
death, it associated with itself practical philanthropic ac- 
tivities under the leadership of Gerrit Groote, 1340-1384, 
and Florentius Radewyn, 1350-1400, who had finished his 
studies in Prag. They were the founders of the Windesheim 
Congregation and the genial company known as the Brothers 
of the Common Life, called also the Brothers of the New 
Devotion. To the effort to attain to union with God they 
gave a new impulse by insisting that men imitate the conduct 
of Christ. 2 Originating in Holland, they spread along the 
Rhine and into Central Germany. 

Groote was born at Deventer, where his father had been 
burgomaster. After studying at Paris, he taught at Cologne, 
and received the appointment of canon, enjoying at least two 
church livings, one at Utrecht and one at Aachen. He lived 
the life of a man of the world until he experienced a sudden 
conversion through the influence of a friend, Henry of Kolcar, 
a Carthusian prior. He renounced his ecclesiastical liv- 
ings and visited Ruysbroeck, being much influenced by him. 
Thomas a Kempis remarks that Groote could say, after his 

i Quoted by Oalle, pp. 184-224. 

9 See Grube, Gerh. Groat, p. 9 ; Langenberg, p. iz ; Pastor, I. 160. The 
Latin titles of the brotherhood were fratres vitas communis, fratres modernas 
devotionis, fratres bonce voluntatis, with reference to Luke 11: 14, and fratres 
collationarii with reference to their habit of preaching. Groote's name to 
spelled Geert de Groote, Gherd de Groet (Langenberg, p. 3), Gerhard Groot 
(Grube), etc. 


visits to Ruysbroeck, "Thy wisdom and knowledge are 
greater than the report which I heard in my own country." 

At forty he began preaching. Throngs gathered to hear 
him in the churches and churchyards of Deventer, Zwolle, 
Leyden and other chief towns of the Lowlands. 1 Often he 
preached three times a day. His success stirred up the Fran- 
ciscans, who secured from the bishop of Utrecht an inhibition 
of preaching by laymen. Groote came under this restric- 
tion, as he was not ordained. An appeal was made to Urban 
VI., but the pope put himself on the side of the bishop. 
Groote died in 1384, before the decision was known. 

Groote strongly denounced the low morals of the clergy, 
but seems not to have opposed any of the doctrines of the 
Church. He fasted, attended mass, laid stress upon prayer 
and alms, and enforced these lessons by his own life. To 
quote an old writer, he taught by living righteously 
docuit sancte vivendo. In 1374, he gave the house he had 
inherited from his father at Deventer as a home for widows 
and unmarried women. Without taking vows, the inmates 
were afforded an opportunity of retirement and a life of 
religious devotion and good works. They were to support 
themselves by weaving, spinning, sewing, nursing and caring 
for the sick. They were at liberty to leave the community 
whenever they chose. John Brinkerinck further developed 
the idea of the female community. 

The origin of the Brothers of the Common Life was on this 
wise. After the inhibition of lay preaching, Groote settled 
down at Deventer, spending much time in the house of Floren- 
tius Radewyn. He had employed young priests to copy manu- 
scripts. At Radewyn's suggestion they were united into a 
community, and agreed to throw their earnings into a com- 

1 The title, hammer of the heretics, malleus hereticorum, was applied 
to him for his defence of the orthodox teaching. For the application of this 
expression, see Hanson, Gesch. des Hexenwahns, p. 301. On Groote's fame 
as a preacher, see Grube, p. 14 sqq., 23. Thomas a Kempis vouches for 
Groote's popularity as a preacher. See Kettlewell, I. 130-134. Among his 
published sermons is one against the concubinage of the clergy defocaristis. 
For a list of his printed discourses, see Herzog, VII., 692 sqq., and Langen- 
toerg, p. 36 sqq. 

280 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1617. 

mon fund. After Groote's death, the community received a 
more distinct organization through Radewyn. Other societies 
were established after the model of the Deventer house, which 
was called "the rich brother house," het rijke fraterhuis, 
as at Zwolle, Delft, Liege, Ghent, Cologne, Miinster, Marburg 
and Rostock, many of them continuing strong till the Refor- 
mation. 1 

A second branch from the same stock, the canons Regular 
of St. Augustine, established by the influence of Radewyn 
and other friends and pupils of Groote, had as their chief 
houses Windesheim, dedicated 1387, and Mt. St. Agnes, 
near Zwolle. These labored more within the convent, the 
Brothers of the Common Life outside of it. 

The Brotherhood of the Common Life never reached the 
position of an order sanctioned by Church authority. Its 
members, including laymen as well as clerics, took no irrevo- 
cable vow, and were at liberty to withdraw when they pleased. 
They were opposed to the Brethren of the Free Spirit, and were 
free from charges of looseness in morals and doctrine. Like 
their founder, they renounced worldly goods and remained 
unmarried. They supported the houses by their own toil. 2 

To gardening, making clothes and other occupations per- 
taining to the daily life, they added preaching, conducting 
schools and copying manuscripts. Groote was an ardent 
lover of books, and had many manuscripts copied for his 
library. Among these master copyists was Thomas a Kempis. 
Classical authors as well as writings of the Fathers and books 
of Scripture were transcribed. Selections were also made 
from these authors in distinct volumes, called ripiaria little 
river banks. At Liege they were so diligent as copyists as 
to receive the name Breeders van de penne. Brothers of the 
Quill. Of Groote, Thomas a Kempis reports that he had a 

1 See Grube, p. 88, and Schulze, p. 402 sqq., who gives a succinct history 
of 18 German houses and 20 houses in tfrb Lowlands. The last to be estab- 
lished was at Cambray, 1505. 

3 Writing of Radewyn, Thomas a Kempis, Vita Florentii, ch. XIV., says 
that work was most profitable to spiritual advancement, and adapted to hold 
in check the lusts of the flesh. One brother who was found after hit death 
to be in possession of some money, was denied prayer at his burial. 


chest filled with the best books standing near his dining 
table, so that, if a course did not please him, he might reach 
over to them and give his friends a cup for their souls. He 
carried books about with him on his preaching tours. Ob- 
jection was here and there made to the possession of so 
many books, where they might have been sold and the pro- 
ceeds given to the poor. 1 Translations also were made of the 
books of Scripture and other works. Groote translated the 
Seven Penitential Psalms, the Office for the Dead and certain 
Devotions to Mary. The houses were not slow in adopting 
type, and printing establishments are mentioned in connec- 
tion with Maryvale, near Geissenheim, Windesheim, Her- 
zogenbusch, Rostock, Louvaine and other houses. 

The schools conducted by the Brothers of the Common 
Life, intended primarily for clerics, have a distinguished 
place in the history of education. Seldom, if ever before, 
had so much attention been paid to the intellectual and moral 
training of youth. Not only did the Brothers have their own 
schools. They labored also in schools already established. 
Long lists of the teachers are still extant. Their school at 
Herzogenbusch had at one time 1200 scholars, and put Greek 
into its course at its very start, 1424. The school at Liege 
in 1524 had 1600 scholars. 2 The school at De venter ac- 
quired a place among the notable grammar schools of history, 
and trained Nicolas of Cusa, Thomas a Kempis, John Wessel 
and Erasmus, who became an inmate of the institution, 1474, 
and learned Greek from one of its teachers, Synthis. Making 
the mother-tongue the chief vehicle of education, these schools 
sent out the men who are the fathers of the modern literature 
of Northwestern Germany and the Lowlands, and prepared 
the soil for the coming Reformation. 

Scarcely less influential was the public preaching of the 
Brethren in the vernacular, and the collations, or expositions 

1 Uhlhorn, p. 378, gives the case of such an objector, a certain man by the 
name of Ketel of Deventer. Also Langenberg, p. x. 

1 See Schmid, Gesch. d. Ereithung wm Aitfang bis auf unsere Zeit, Stutt- 
gart, 1892, IT. 104-167; Hirsche in Henog, II. 759; Pastor's high tribute, 
I. 152 ; and Langenberg, p. ix. 

282 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

of Scripture, given to private circles in their own houses. 
Groote went to the Scriptures, so Thomas a Kempis says, as 
to a well of life. Of John Celle, d. 1417, the zealous rector 
of the Zwolle school, the same biographer writes : " He fre- 
quently expounded to the pupils the Holy Scriptures, im- 
pressing upon them their authority and stirring them up to 
diligence in writing out the sayings of the saints. He also 
taught them to sing accurately, and sedulously to attend 
church, to honor God's ministers and to pray often." 1 
Celle himself played on the organ. 

The central theme of their study was the person and life 
of Christ. "Let the root of thy study," said Groote, "and 
the mirror of thy life be primarily the Gospel, for therein is 
the life of Christ portrayed." 2 A period of each day was 
set apart for reflection on some special religious subject, 
Sunday on heaven, Monday on death, Tuesday on the mer- 
cies of God, Wednesday on the last judgment, Thursday on 
the pains of hell, Friday on the Lord's passion and Saturday 
on sins. They laid more stress upon inward purity and 
rectitude than upon outward conformities to ritual. 8 

The excellent people joined the other mystics of the four- 
teenth century in loosening the hold of scholasticism and sacer- 
dotalism, those two master forces of the Middle Ages. 4 They 
gave emphasis to the ideas brought out strongly from other 
quarters, the heretical sects and such writers as Marsiglius 
of Padua, the idea of the dignity of the layman, and that 
monastic vows are not the condition of pure religious devotion. 
They were the chief contributors to the vigorous religious 
current which was flowing through the Lowlands. Popular 
religious literature was in circulation. Manuals of devotion 
were current, cordials and prsecordials for the soul's needs. 
Written codes of rules for laymen were passed from hand to 

1 Kettlewell, I. 111. 

2 Thos. ft, Kempis, Vita Gerard. XVIII. 11 ; Kettlewell, I. 166. A life 
of a cleric he declared to be the people's Gospel vita clerici evangelium 
popult. See Langenberg, p. 61. 

4 See Ullman, II. 82, 115 sq. Schulze, p. 190, is not so clear on this point. 
Kettlewell, IL 440, says that the Brothers were " the chief agents in pioneer- 
ing the way for the Reformation.' 1 


hand, giving directions for their conduct at home and abroad. 
Religious poems in the vernacular, such as the poem on the 
wise and foolish virgins, carried biblical truth. 

Van viffjuncfrou wen de wis weren 
Unde van vifdwasen wilt nu hir leren. 

Some of these were translations from Bernard's Jesu dulcis 
memoria, and some condemned festivities like the Maypole 
and the dance. 1 

Eugene IV., PiusII.,andSixtusIV. gave the Brothers marks 
of their approval, and the great teachers, Cardinal Cusa,D'Ailly 
and John Gerson spoke in their praise. There were, however, 
detractors, such as Grabon,a Saxon Dominican who presented, 
in the last days of the Council of Constance, 1418, no less 
than twenty-five charges against them. The substance of 
the charges was that the highest religious life may not be 
lived apart from the orders officially sanctioned by the 
Church. A commission appointed by Martin V., to which 
Gerson and D'Ailly belonged, reported adversely, and Gra- 
bon was obliged to retract. The commission adduced the 
fact that there was no monastic body in Jerusalem when the 
primitive Church practised community of goods, and that con- 
ventual walls and vows are not essential to the highest reli- 
gious life. Otherwise the pope, the cardinals and the prelates 
themselves would not be able to attain to the highest reach 
of religious experience. 2 

With the Reformation, the distinct mission of the Brother- 
hood was at an end, and many of the communities fell in with 

1 See Langenberg. The poem he gives on the dance, 68 sqq., begins 
Hyr na volget eyn Icre schone 
Teghen dantzen wide van den meybome. 

Here follows a nice teaching against dancing and the May tree. One reason 
given against dancing was that the dancers stretched out their arms, and so 
showed disrespect to Christ, who stretched out his arms on the cross. One 
of the documents is a letter in which a monk warns his niece, who had gone 
astray, against displays of dress and bold gestures, intended to attract the 
attention of young men, especially on the Cathedral Square. With the letter 
he sent his niece a book of devotional literature. 

9 Van der Hardt, Cone. Const., IIL 107-121, gives Grabon's charges, the 
judgments of D'Ailly and Gerson and the text of Grabon's retraction. 

284 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

the new movement. As for the houses which maintained 
their old rules, Luther felt a warm interest in them. When, 
in 1532, the Council of Hervord in Westphalia was proposing 
to abolish the local sister and brother houses, the Reformer 
wrote strongly against the proposal as follows : " Inasmuch as 
the Brothers and Sisters, who were the first to start the Gos- 
pel among you, lead a creditable life, and have a decent and 
well-behaved community, and faithfully teach and hold the 
pure Word, such monasteries and brother-houses please me 
beyond measure." On two other occasions, he openly showed 
his interest in the brotherhood of which Groote was the 
founder. 1 

35. The Imitation of Christ. Thomas a Kempis. 

. . . mild saint 
A Kempis overmild. 


The pearl of all the mystical writings of the German-Dutch 
school is the Imitation of Christ, the work of Thomas a Kempis. 
With the Confessions of St. Augustine and Bunyan's Pilgrim's 
Progress it occupies a place in the very front rank of manuals 
of devotion, and, if the influence of books is to be judged by 
their circulation, this little volume, starting from a convent 
in the Netherlands, has, next to the Sacred Scriptures, been 
the most influential of all the religious writings of Christen- 
dom. Protestants and Catholics alike have joined in giving 
it praise. The Jesuits introduced it into their Exercises. 
Dr. Samuel Johnson, once, when ill, taught himself Dutch by 
reading it in that language, and said of its author that the 
world had opened its arms to receive his book. 2 It was 
translated by John Wesley, was partly instrumental in the 
conversion of John Newton, was edited by Thomas Chalmers, 
was read by Mr. Gladstone " as a golden book for all times " 
and was ftie companion of General Gordon. Dr. Charles 

1 De Wette, Luther's Letters, Nos. 1448, 1440, vol. IV., pp. 368 sqq. 
9 An. The Worldly Wisdom of Thos. ft Kempis, in Dublin Review, 1908, 
pp. 262-287. 


Hodge, the Presbyterian divine, said it has diffused itself 
like incense through the aisles and alcoves of the Uni- 
versal Church. 1 

The number of counted editions exceeds 2000. The 
British Museum has more than 1000 editions on its shelves. 3 

Originally written in the Latin, a French translation was 
made as early as 1447, which still remains in manuscript. 
The first printed French copies appeared in Toulouse, 1488. 
The earliest German translation was made in 1434 and is 
preserved in Cologne, and printed editions in German begin 
with the Augsburg edition of 1486. Men eminent in the 
annals of German piety, such as Arndt, 1621, Gossner, 1824, 
and Tersteegen, 1844, have issued editions with prefaces. 
The work first appeared in print in English, 1502, the trans- 
lation being partly by the hand of Margaret, the mother of 
Henry VII. Translations appeared in Italian in Venice and 
Milan, 1488, in Spanish at Seville, 1536, in Arabic at Rome, 
1663, in Arminian at Rome, 1674, and in other languages. 8 

The Imitation of Christ consists of four books, and derives 
its title from the heading of the first book, De imitatione 
Christi et contemptu omnium vanitatum mundi^ the imitation of 
Christ and the contempt of all the vanities of the world. 
It seems to have been written in metre. 4 The four books 
are not found in all the manuscripts nor invariably arranged 
in the same order, facts which have led some to suppose that 

1 System. Theol., I. 79. For Gladstone's judgment, see Morley, II. 186. 
Butler, p. 191, gives a list of 33 English translations from 1602-1900. 
De Quincey said : " The book came forward in answer to the sighing of Chris- 
tian Europe for light from heaven. Excepting the Bible in Protestant lands, 
no book known to man has had the same distinction. It is the most marvel- 
lous biblical fact on record." Quoted by Kettle well, I. 

2 Backer, in his Essai bibliogr., enumerates 545 Latin editions, and about 
900 editions in French. There are more than 50 editions belonging to the fif- 
teenth century. See Funk, p. 426. The Bullingen collection, donated to the 
city library of Cologne, 1838, contained at the time of the gift 400 different 
edd. Montmorenci, p. xzii sq., gives the dates of 29 edd., 1471-1503, with 
places of issue. 

8 Corneille produced a poetical translation in French, 1651. A polyglot 
edition appeared at Sulzbach, 1837, comprising the Latin text and translations 
in Italian, French, German, Greek and English. 

* Hirsche discovered the rhythm and made it known, 1874. 

286 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

they were not all written at the same time. The work is a 
manual of devotion intended to help the soul in its commun- 
ion with God. Its sententious statements are pitched in the 
highest key of Christian experience. Within and through 
all its reflections runs the word, self-renunciation. Its open- 
ing words, " whoso f olloweth me, shall not walk in darkness 
but shall have the light of life," John 8 : 12, are a fitting 
announcement of the contents. The life of Christ is repre- 
sented as the highest study it is possible for a mortal to take 
up. He who has his spirit has found the hidden manna. 
What can the world confer without Jesus? To be without 
him is the direst hell; to be with him, the sweetest paradise. 

Here are counsels to read the Scriptures, statements about 
the uses of adversity and advice for submission to author- 
ity, warnings against temptations, reflections upon death, the 
judgment and paradise. Here are meditations on Christ's 
oblation on the cross and the advantages of the communion, 
and also admonitions to flee the vanities and emptiness of 
the world and to love God, for he that lovetli, knoweth God. 
Christ is more than all the wisdom of the schools. He lifts up 
the mind in a moment of time to perceive more reasons for 
eternal truth than a student might learn over books in ten 
years. He teaches without confusion of words, without the 
clashing of opinions, without the pride of reputation, sine 
fastu honoris, the contention of arguments. The conclud- 
ing words are : " My eyes are unto Thee. My God, in Thee do 
I put my trust, O Thou Father of mercies. Accompany thy 
servant with Thy grace and direct him by the path of peace 
to the land of unending light patriam perpetuce claritatis." 

The plaintive minor key, the gently persuasive tone of the 
work are adapted to attract serious souls seeking the inner 
chamber of religious peace and purity of thought, but especially 
those who are under the shadow of pain and sorrow. The 
praise of Christ is so unstinted, and the dependence upon him 
so unaffected, that one cannot help but feel, in reading this 
book, that he is partaking of the essence of the Gospel. The 
work, however, presents only one side of the Christian life. 
It commends humility, submission, gentleness and the passive 


virtues. It does not emphasize the manly virtues of courage and 
loyalty to the truth, nor elaborate upon Christian activities to 
be done to our fellow-men. To fall in completely with the spirit 
of Thomas a Kempis, and to abide there, would mean to follow 
the best cloistral ideal of the Middle Ages, or rather of the 
fourteenth century. Its counsels and reflections were meant 
primarily for those who had made the convent their home, 
not for the busy traffickers in the marts of the world, and in 
association with men of all classes. It leans to quietism, and 
is calculated to promote personal piety for those who dwell 
much alone rather than to fit men for engaging in the public 
battles which fall to men's usual lot. Its admonitions are 
adapted to help men to bear with patience rather than to rectify 
the evils in the world, to be silent rather than to speak to the 
throng, to live well in seclusion rather than set an example of 
manly and womanly endeavor in the shop, on the street and 
in the family. The charge has been made, and not without 
some ground, that the Imitation of Christ sets forth a selfish 
type of religion. 1 Its soft words are fitted to quiet the soul 
and bring it to meek contentment rather than to stir up the 
combatant virtues of courage and of assistance to others. 
Its message corresponds to the soft glow of the summer even- 
ing, and not to the fresh hours filled with the rays of the morn- 
ing sun. This plaintive note runs through Thomas' hymns, 
as may be seen from a verse taken from " The Misery of 

this Life": 

Most wonderful would it be 
If one did not feel and lament 
That in this world to live 
Is toil, affliction, pain. 3 

i This is Milman's judgment. Hist. ofLat. Christ., Bk. XIV., 3, Milman 
Raid, " The book's sole, single, exclusive object is the purification, the eleva- 
tion of the individual soul, of the man absolutely isolated from his kind, of the 
man dwelling alone in the heritage of his thoughts. " 
8 Mirum est, si non lugeat 
Experimento qui probat 
Quod vivere in sceculo 
Labor, dolor, afflictio. 

Blume and Dreves: Analecta hymnica, XL VIII. 608. Thomas a 
Kempis' hymns are given Blume and Dreves, XLVIII. 476-614. 

288 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

Over the pages of the book is written the word Christ. It 
is for this reason that Protestants cherish it as well as Cath- 
olics. The references to mediaeval errors of doctrine or 
practice are so rare that it requires diligent search to find 
them. Such as they are, they are usually erased from Eng- 
lish editions, so that the English reader misses them entirely. 
Thomas introduces the merit of good works, transubstantia- 
tion, IV. 2, the doctrine of purgatory, IV. 9, and the worship 
of saints, I. 13, II. 9, II. 6, 59. But these statements, how- 
ever, are like the flecks on the marbles of the Parthenon. 

The author, Thomas a Kempis, 1380-1471, was born in 
Kempen, a town 40 miles northwest of Cologne, and died 
at Zwolle, in the Netherlands. His paternal name was 
Hemerken or Hammerlein, Little Hammer. He was a 
follower of Groote. In 1395, he was sent to the school of 
Deventer, under the charge of Florentius Radewyn and the 
Brothers of the Common Life. He became skilful as a 
copyist, and was thus enabled to support himself . Later he 
was admitted to the Augustinian convent of Mt. St. Agnes, 
near Zwolle, received priest's orders, 1413, and was made sub- 
prior, 1429. His brother John, a man of rectitude of life, had 
been there before him, and was prior. Thomas' life seems to 
have been a quiet one, devoted to meditation, composition 
and copying. He copied the Bible no less than four times, 
one of the copies being preserved at Darmstadt. His works 
abound in quotations of the New Testament. Under an old 
picture, which is represented as his portrait, are the words, 
" In all things I sought quiet, and found it not save in retire- 
ment and in books." 1 They fit well the author of the famous 
Imitation of Christ, as the world thinks of him. He reached 
the high age of fourscore years and ten. A monument was 
dedicated to his memory in the presence of the archbishop 
of Utrecht in St Michael's Church, Zwolle, Nov. 11, 1897. 
The writings of a Kempis, which are all of a devotional 

1 In omnibus requiem qucesivi et non invent nisi in een huechsken met een 
buexken. Franciscus Tolensis is the first to ascribe the portrait to & Kempis. 
Kettlewell's statements about a Kempis 1 active religious services are imagi- 
nary, I. 31, 322, etc. See Lindsay's statement, Enc. Brit., XIV. 32. 


character, include tracts and meditations, letters, sermons, 
a Life of St. Lydewigis, a steadfast Christian woman who 
endured a great fight of afflictions, and the biographies of 
Groote, Florentius and nine of their companions. Works 
similar to the Imitation of Christ are his prolonged medita- 
tion upon the Incarnation, and a meditation on the Life and 
Blessings of the Saviour, 1 both of which overflow with admi- 
ration for Christ. 

In these writings the traces of mediaeval theology, though 
they are found, are not obtrusive. The writer followed his 
mediaeval predecessors in the worship of Mary, of whom he 
says, she is to be invoked by all Christians, especially by 
monastics. 2 He prays to her as the " most merciful," the 
" most glorious " mother of God, and calls her the queen of 
heaven, the efficient mediatrix of the whole world, the joy 
and delight of all the saints, yea, the golden couch for all the 
saints. She is the chamber of God, the gate of heaven, the 
paradise of delights, the well of graces, the glory of the 
angels, the joy of men, the model of manners, the brightness 
of virtues, the lamp of life, the hope of the needy, the salva- 
tion of the weak, the mother of the orphaned. To her all 
should flee as sons to a mother's bosom. 8 

From these tender praises of Mary it is pleasant to turn 
away to the code of twenty-three precepts which the 
Dutch mystic laid down under the title, A Small Alphabet 
for a Monk in the School of G-od.* Here are some of them. 
Love to be unknown and to be reputed as nothing. Love 
solitude and silence, and thou wilt find great quiet and a 
good conscience. Where the crowd is, there is usually con- 
fusion and distraction of heart. Choose poverty and simplic- 
ity. Humble thyself in all things and under all things, and 
thou wilt merit kindness from all. Let Christ be thy life, 
thy reading, thy meditation, thy conversation, thy desire, thy 
gain, thy hope and thy reward. Zaccheus, brother, descend 

i Pohl'g ed M II. 1-59 ; V. 1-363. 

a De disciplina claustralium, Pohl'e ed., II. 313. For prayers to Mary 
III. 356-368 and sermons on Mary, VI. 218-238. 

Pohl, III. 867; VI. 210, 235 sq. * IIL 817-322. 


290 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

from the height of thy secular wisdom. Come and learn in 
God's school the way of humility, long-suffering and patience, 
and Christ teaching thee, thou shalt come at last safely to 
the glory of eternal beatitude. 

has been one of the most hotly contested questions in the history of pure lit- 
erature. National sentiments have entered into the discussion, France and 
Italy contending for the honor of authorship with the Lowlands. The work 
is now quite generally ascribed to Thomas a Kempis, but among those who 
dissent from this opinion are scholars of rank. 

Among the more recent treatments of the subject not given in the Litera- 
ture, 27, are V. BECKER : Vauteur de Vlmitat. et les documents neerlandais, 
Hague, 1882. Also Les derniers travaux sur Vauteur de Vlmitat., Brussels, 
1889. DENIFLE : Krit. Bemerk. zur Gersen-Kempis Frage, Zeitung fur 
kath. Theol., 1882 sq. A. 0. SPITZEN . Th. a K. als schrijver der navolging, 
Utrecht, 1880. Also Nouvelle defense en reponse du Denifle, Utrecht, 1884. 
L. SAKTINI: I diritti di Tommaso da Kemp., 2 vols., Rome, 1879-1881. 
F. X. FUNK: Gerson und Gersen and Der Verfasser der Nachfolge Christi 
in his Abhandlungen, Paderborn, 1899, II. 37;M44. P. E. PMOL Descnpt. 
bibliogr. des MSS. et desprincip. edd du livre de imitat., Paris, 1898. Also 
Paleographie^ classement, genealogie du livre de imitat., Paris, 1898. Also 
Vauteur du livre de imitat., 2 vols., Paris, 1899. SCIIULZE'B art. in 
HERZOO. G. KENTENICH : Die Uandschriften der Imitat. und die Autorschaft 
des Thomas, in Brieger's Zeitschrift, 1902, 18 sqq., 1903, 594 sqq. 

Pohl gives a list of no less than 35 persons to whom with more or less con- 
fidence the authorship has been ascribed. The list includes the names of 
John Gerson, chancellor of the University of Paris ; John Gersen, the reputed 
abbot of Vercelli, Italy, who lived about 1230 ; Walter Hylton, St. Bernard, 
Bonaventura, David of Augsburg, Tauler, Suso and even Innocent III. The 
only claimants worthy of consideration are Gerson, Gersen, and Thomas a 
Kempis, although Montinorency is inclined to advance the claim of Walter 
Hylton. The uncertainty arises from the facts (1) that a number of the 
MSS. and printed editions of the fifteenth centuiy have no note of author- 
ship ; (2) the rest are divided between these, Gerson, Gersen, & Kempis, 
Hylton, and St. Bernard ; (3) the MSS. copies show important divergencies. 
The matter has been made more difficult by the forgery of names and dates 
in MSS. since the controversy began, these forgeries being almost entirely in 
the interest of a French or Italian authorship. A reason for the absence of 
the author's name in so many MSS. is found in the desire of & Kempis, if he 
indeed be the author, to remain incognito, in accordance with his own motto, 
ama nesciri, *'love to be unknown. " 

Of the Latin editions belonging to the fifteenth century, Pohl gives 28 as 
accredited to Gerson, 12 to Thomas, 2 to St. Bernard, and 6 as anonymous. 
Or, to follow Funk, p. 426, 40 editions of that century were ascribed to Ger- 
son, 11 to a Kempis, 2 to Bernard, 1 to Gersen, and 2 are anonymous. Spit- 
zen gives 15 as ascribed to a Kempis. Most of the editions ascribing the 


work to Gerson were printed in France, the remaining editions being printed 
in Italy or Spain. The editions of the sixteenth century show a change, 37 
Latin editions ascribing the authorship to a Kempis, and 26 to Gerson. As 
for the MSS. dated before 1460, and whose dates may be said to be reason- 
ably above suspicion, all were written in Germany and the Lowlands. The 
oldest, included in a codex preserved since 1826 in the royal library of Brus- 
sels, probably belongs before 1420. The codex contains 9 other writings of 
a Kempis besides the Imitation, and contains the note, Finitus et completus 
MCCCCXLI per manus fratris Th. Kempensis in Monte S. Agnetis prope 
Zwollis (finished and completed, 1441, by the hands of brother Thomas a 
Kempis of Mount St. Agnes, near Zwolle). See Pohl, II. 461 sqq. So this is 
an autographic copy. The text of the Imitation, however, is written on older 
paper than the other documents, and has corrections which are found in a 
Dutch translation of the first book, dating from 1420. For these reasons, 
Funk, p. 424, and others, puts the MS. back to 1416-1420. 

The literary controversy over the authorship began in 1604, when Dom 
Pedro Manriquez, in a work on the Lord's Supper issued at Milan, and on the 
alleged basis of a quotation by Bonaventura, declared the Imitation to be 
older than that Schoolman. In 1606, Bellarmin, in his Descript. eccles., was 
more precise, and stated it was already in existence in 1260. About the 
same time, the Jesuit, Kossignoli, found in a convent at Arona, near Milan, a 
MS. without date, but bearing the name of an abbot, John Gersen, as its 
author ; the house had belonged to the Benedictines once. In 1614 the Bene- 
dictine, Constantius Cajetan, secretary of Paul V., issued his Gersen restitutus 
at Rome, and later his Apparatus ad Gersenem restitittnm, in which he de- 
fended the Italian's claim. This individual was said to have been a Benedic- 
tine abbot of Vercelli, in Piedmont, in the first half of the thirteenth century. 
On the other hand, the Augustinian, Rosweyde, in his v indictee Kempenses, 
Antwerp, 1617, so cogently defended the claims of a Kempis that Bellarmin 
withdrew his statement. In the nineteenth century the claims of Gersen were 
again urged by a Piedmontese nobleman, Gregory, in his Istoria delta Ver- 
cellese letteratura, Turin, 1819, and subsequent publications, and by Wolfs- 
gruber of Vienna in a scholarly work, 1880. But Hirsche and Funk are, no 
doubt, right in pronouncing the name Gersen a mistake for Gerson, and Funk, 
after careful criticism, declares the Italian abbot a fictitious personage. The 
most recent Engl. writer on the subject, Montmorenciy, p. xiii, says, " there is 
no evidence that there was ever an abbot of Vercelli by the name of Gersen. " 

The claims of John Gerson are of a substantial character, and France was 
not slow in coming to the chancellor's defence. An examination of old MSS., 
made in Paris, had an uncertain issue, so that, in 1640, Richelieu's splendid 
edition of the Imitation was sent forth without an author's name. The 
French parliament, however, in 1652, ordered the book printed under the 
name of a Kerapis. The matter was not settled and, at three gatherings, 
1671, 1674, 1687, instituted by Mabillon, a fresh examination of MSS. was 
made, with the result that the case went against a Kempis. Later, Du Pin, 
after a comparison of Gerson 's writings with the Imitation, concluded that 
it was impossible to decide with certainty between these two writers and 
Gersen. (See his 2d ed. of Genon'a Works, 1728, I. lix-lxxxiv) ; but in a 

292 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517 

special work, Amsterdam, 1706, he had decided in favor of the Dutchman. 
French editions of the Imitation continued to be issued under the name of 
Gerson, as, for example, those of Erhard-Mezler, 1724, and Vollardt, 1768. 
On the other hand, the Augustinian, Amort, defended the a Kempis author- 
ship in his Informatio de statu controversies, Augsburg, 1728, and especially 
in his Scutum Kempense, Cologne, 1728. After the unfavorable statement 
of Schwab, Life of Genon, 1858, pp. 782-786, declaring that the Imitation is 
in an altogether different style from Gerson*s works, the theory of the Gerson 
authorship seemed to be finally abandoned. The first collected edition of 
Gerson's Works, 1483, knows nothing about the Imitation. Nor did Gerson's 
brother, prior of Lyons, mention it in the list he gave of the chancellor's 
works, 1423. The author of the Imitation was, by his own statements, a 
monk, IV. 6, 11 ; III., 56. Gerson would have been obliged to change his 
usual habit of presentation to have written in the monastic tone. 

After the question of authorship seemed to be pretty well settled in favor 
of a Kempis, another stage in the controversy was opened by the publications 
of Puyol in 1898, 1899. Puyol gives a description of 348 manuscripts, and 
makes a sharp distinction between those of Italian origin and other manu- 
scripts. He also annotates the variations in 57, with the conclusion that the 
Italian text is the more simple, and consequently the older and original text. 
He himself based his edition on the text of Arona. Puyol is followed by 
Kentenich, and has been answered by Pohl and others. 

Walter Hylton's reputed authorship of the Imitation is based upon three 
books of that work, having gone under the name De musica ecclesiastica in 
MSS. in England and the persistent English tradition that Hylton was the 
author. Montmorency, pp. xiv, 138-170, while he pronounces the Hylton 
theory of authorship untenable, confesses his inability to explain it. 

The arguments in favor of the a Kempis authorship, briefly stated, are 
as follows : 

1. External testimony. John Busch, in his Chronicon Windetemense, 
written 1464, seven years before & Kempis' death, expressly states that a 
Kempis wrote the Imitation. To this testimony are to be added the testi- 
monies of Caspar of Pforzheim, who made a German translation of the work, 
1448 ; Hermann Rheyd, who met Thomas, 1454, and John Wessel, who was 
attracted to Windesheim by the book's fame. For other testimonies, see 
Hirsche and Funk, pp. 432-436. 

2. Manuscripts and editions. The number of extant MSS. is about 500. 
See Kentenich, p. 294. Funk, p. 420, gives 13 MSS. dated before 1500, ascrib- 
ing the Imitation to a Kempis. The autograph copy, contained in the 
Brussels codex of 1441, has already been mentioned. It must be said, how- 
ever, the conclusion reached by Hirsche, Pohl, Funk, Schulze and others that 
this text is autographic has been denied by Puyol and Kentenich, on the 
basis of its divergences from other copies, which they claim the author could 
not have made. A second autograph, in Louvaine (see Schulze, p. 730), 
seems to be nearly as old, 1420, and has the note scriptus manibus et char- 
acteribus Thomas qui est autor horum devotorum libellorum, " written by 
the hand of Thomas," etc. (Pohl, VI. 456 sq.). A third MS., stating that 
Thomas is the author, and preserved in Brussels, is dated 1425. As for the 


printed editions of the fifteenth century, at least 13 present Thomas as the 
author, from the edition of Augsburg, 1472, to the editions of Paris, 1493, 

3. Style and contents. These agree closely with & Kempis' other writ- 
ings, and the flow of thought is altogether similar to that of his Meditation 
on Christ's Incarnation. Spitzen seems to have made it at least very prob- 
able that the author was acquainted with the writings of Ruysbroeck, John 
of Schoenhoven, and other mystics and monks of the Lowlands. Funk has 
brought out references to ecclesiastical customs which fit the book into the 
time between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Hirsche laid stress on 
Germanisms in the style. 

Among recent German scholars, Denifle sets aside a Kempis' claims and 
ascribes the work to some unknown canon regular of the Lowlands. Karl 
Muller, in a brief note, Kir cheng each., II. 122, and Loofs Dogmengesch., 
4th ed., p. 633, pronounce the & Kempis authorship more than doubtful. 
On the other hand, Schwab, Hirsche, Schulze and Funk agree that the claims 
of Thomas are almost beyond dispute. It is almost impossible to give a rea- 
son why the Imitation should have been ascribed to the Dutch mystic, if he 
were not indeed its author. The explanation given by Kentenich, p. 603, 
seems to be utterly insufficient. 

3G. The German Theology. 

The evangelical teachings of the little book, known as The 
German Tfieoloffy, led Ullmann to place its author in the list 
of the Reformers before the Reformation. 1 The author was 
one of the Friends of God, and no writing issuing from that 
circle has had a more honorable and useful career. Together 
with the Imitation of Christ, it has been the most profitable of 
the writings of the German mystics. Its fame is derived 
from Luther's high praise as much as from its own excellent 
contents. The Reformer issued two editions of it, 1516, 
with a partial text, and 1518, in the second edition giving it 
the name which remains with it to this day, Ein Deut%ch 
Tfieologia A German treatise of Theology. 2 Luther desig- 

1 The best German ed., Stuttgart, 1868. The text is taken from Pfeiffer's 
ed., Strassburg, 1851, 3d ed. unchanged ; Gtitersloh, 1875, containing Luther's 
Preface of 1618 and the Preface of Joh. Arndt, 1632. Pfeiffer used the MS. 
dated 1407, the oldest in existence. The best Engl. trans., by Susannah Wink- 
worth, from Pfeiffer's text, London, 1864, Andover, 1860. The Andover ed. 
contains an Introd. by Miss Wink worth, a Letter from Chevalier Bunsen 
and Prefaces by Canon Kingsley and Prof. Calvin E. Stowe. 

2 Luther's full title in the ed. of 1518 is Ein Deutsch Theologia, das itt ein 
tdles Duchlein vom rechten Vertttande. was Adam und Ckristus sei und trie 

294 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

nated as its author a Frankfurt priest, a Teutonic knight, but 
for a time it was ascribed to Tauler. The Preface of the 
oldest MS., dated 1497, and found in 1850, made this view 
impossible, for Tauler is himself quoted in ch. XIII. Here 
the author is called a Frankfurt priest and a true Friend of 

Luther announced his high obligation to the teachings of 
the manual of the way of salvation when he said that next 
to the Bible and St. Augustine, no book had come into his 
hands from which he had learnt more of what God and man 
and all things are and would wish to learn more. The author, 
he affirmed, was a pure Israelite who did not take the foam 
from the surface, but drew from the bed of the Jordan. Here, 
he continued, the teachings of the Scriptures are set forth as 
plain as day which have been lying under the desk of the 
universities, nay, have almost been left to rot in dust and 
muck. With his usual patriotism, he declared that in the 
book he had found Christ in the German tongue as he and the 
other German theologians had never found him in Greek, 
Latin or Hebrew. 

The German Theology sets forth man's sinful and helpless 
condition, Christ's perfection and mediatorial work and calls 
upon men to have access to God through him as the door. 
In all its fifty-four chapters no reference is made to Mary or 
to the justifying nature of good works or the merit of sacra- 
mental observances. 1 It abounds as no other writing of the 
German mystics did in quotations from the New Testament. 
In its pages the wayfaring man may find the path of salvation 
marked out without mystification. 

The book, starting out with the words of St. Paul, " when 
that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be 

Adam in uns tterben und Christus in un$ erttehen soil. A German the- 
ology, that is, a right noble little book about the right comprehension of what 
Adam and Christ are, and how Adam is to die in us and Christ is to arise. 
Cobra in Herzog, XIX. 626, mentions 28 editions as having appeared in High 
German previous to 1742. Luther's Prefaces are given in the Weimar ed. of 
his Works, pp. 163, 370-878. 

1 Dr. Calvin B. Stowe said * the book sets forth the essential principle of 
the Gospel in its naked simplicity, 11 Winkworth's ed., p. v. 


done away,'* declares that that which is imperfect has only 
a relative existence and that, whenever the Perfect becomes 
known by the creature, then " the I, the Self and the like 
must all be given up and done away." Christ shows us 
the way by having taken on him human nature. In chs. 
XV.-LIV., it shows that all men are dead in Adam, and that 
to come to the perfect life, the old man must die and the new 
man be born. He must become possessed with God and de- 
possessed of the devil. Obedience is the prime requisite of 
the new manhood. Sin is disobedience, and the more " of 
Self and Me, the more of sin and wickedness and the more 
the Self, the I, the Me, the Mine, that is, self-seeking and self- 
ishness, abate in a man, the more doth God's I, that is, God 
Himself, increase." By obedience we become free. The life 
of Christ is the perfect model, and we follow him by heark- 
ening unto his words to forsake all. This is nothing else than 
saying that we must be in union with the divine will and be 
ready either to do or to suffer. Such a man, a man who is a 
partaker of the divine nature, will in sincerity love all men 
and things, do them good and take pleasure in their welfare. 
Knowledge and light profit nothing without love. Love 
maketli a man one with God. The last word is that no man 
can come unto the Father but by Christ. 

In 1621 the Catholic Church placed the Theologia Q-erman- 
ica on the Index. If all the volumes listed in that catalogue 
of forbidden books were like this one, making the way of 
salvation plain, its pages would be illuminated with ineffable 

37. English Mystics. 

England, in the fourteenth century, produced devotional 
writings which have been classed iu the literature of mys- 
ticism. They are wanting in the transcendental flights of 
the German mystics, and are, for the most part, marked by 
a decided practical tendency. 

1 St5ckl and other Catholics, though not all, are bitter against the Theologia 
and charge it with pantheism. Bunsen ranked it next to the Bible. Wink- 
worth's ed., p. liv. 

296 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

The Ancren Riwle was written for three sisters who lived 
as anchoresses at Tarrant Kaines, Dorsetshire. 1 It was the 
custom in their day in England for women living a recluse 
life to build a room against the wall of some church or a small 
structure in a churchyard and in such a way that it had win- 
dows, but no doors of egress. This little book of religious 
counsels was written at the request of the sisters, and is usu- 
ally ascribed to Simon of Ghent, bishop of Salisbury, d. 1315. 
The author gives two general directions, namely, to keep the 
heart " smooth and without any scar of evil," and to practise 
bodily discipline, which " serveth the first end, and of which 
Paul said that it profiteth little." The first is the lady, the 
second the handmaid. If asked to what order they belonged, 
the sisters were instructed to say to the Order of St. James, 
for James said, " Pure religion and undefiled before our God 
and Father is this : to visit the fatherless and widows in their 
affliction and to keep one's self unspotted from the world." 
It is interesting to note that they are bidden to have warm 
clothes for bed and back, and to wash "as often as they please." 
They were forbidden to lash themselves with a leathern 
thong, or one loaded with lead except at the advice of their 
confessor. Richard Rolle, d. 1349, the author of a number 
of devotional treatises, and also translations or paraphrases 
of the Psalms, Job, the Canticles and Jeremiah, suddenly left 
Oxford, where he was pursuing his studies, discontented with 
the scholastic method in vogue at the university, and finally 
settled down as a hermit at Hampole, near Doncaster. Here 
he attained a high fame for piety and as a worker of miracles. 
He wrote in Latin and English, his chief works being the 
Latin treatises, The Emendation of Life and TJie Fervor of 
Love. They were translated in 1434, 1435, by Rich Misyn. 
His works are extant in many manuscript copies. Rolle 
exalted the contemplative life, indulged in much dreamy 
religious speculation, but also denounced the vice and world- 
liness of his time. In the last state of the contemplative 

1 The Ancren Riwle, ed. by J. Morton, Camden series, London, 1868. See 
W. R. Inge, Studies inEngl. Myttics, London, 1906, p. 88 sqq. 


life he represents man as "seeing into heaven with his 
ghostly eye." 1 

Juliana of Norwich, who died 1443, as it is said, at the age of 
100, was also an anchoress, having her cell in the churchyard of 
St. Julian's church, Norwich. She received 16 revelations, 
the first in 1373, when she was 30 years old. At that time, 
she saw " God in a point." She laid stress upon love, and 
presented the joyful aspect of religion. God revealed Him- 
self to her in three properties, life, light and love. Her 
account of her revelations is pronounced by Inge "a fragrant 
little book." 2 

The Ladder of Perfection, written by Walter Hylton, an 
Augustinian canon of Thurgarton, Nottinghamshire, who 
died 1396, 8 depicts the different stages of spiritual attain- 
ment from the simple knowledge of the facts of religion, 
which is likened to the water of Cana which must be turned 
into wine, to the last stages of contemplation and divine 
union. There is no great excellency, Hylton says, "in watch- 
ing and fasting till thy head aches, nor in running to Rome 
or Jerusalem with bare feet, nor in building churches and 
hospitals." But it is a sign of excellency if a man can love 
a sinner, while hating the sin. Those who are not content 
with merely saving their souls, but go on to the higher de- 
grees of contemplation, are overcome by " a good darkness," 
a state in which the soul is free and not distracted by any- 
thing earthly. The light then arises little by little. Flashes 
come through the chinks in the walls of Jerusalem, but Jeru- 
salem is not reached by a bound. There must be transfor- 
mation, and the power that transforms is the love of God shed 

* C. Horetman, Richard Rolle of Hampole, 2 vols. The Early Engl. Text 
Soc. publ. the Engl. versions of Misyn, 1890. G. G. Perry edited his liturgy 
in the vol. giving the York Breviary, Surtees Soc, The poem, Pricke of Con- 
science, was issued by H. R. Bramley, Oxford, 1884. See Stephen, Diet. Natl. 
Biog. XLIX. 164-166. 

8 The Revelations of Divine Love has been ed. by R. F. S. Cressy, London, 
1670, reprinted 1843 ; by H. Collins, London, 1817, and by Grace Warrack. 
3d ed. Lond., 1009. See Inge and Diet, of Natl. Biog. 

Written in English, the Ladder was translated by the Carmelite friar, 
Thomas Fyslawe, into Latin. Hylton's death is also put in 1433. 

298 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

abroad in the soul. Love proceeds from knowledge, and the 
more God is known, the more is He loved. Hylton's wide 
reputation is proved by the ascription of Thomas a Kern- 
pis' Imitation to him and its identification in manuscripts with 
his De musica ecclesiastical 

These writings, if we except Rolle, betray much of that 
sobriety of temper which characterizes the English religious 
thought. They contain no flights of hazy mystification and 
no rapturous outbursts of passionate feeling. They empha- 
size features common to all the mystics of the later Mid- 
dle Ages, the gradual transformation through the power of 
love into the image of God, and ascent through inward con- 
templation to full fellowship with Him. They show that the 
principles of the imitation of Christ were understood on the 
English side of the channel as well as by the mystics of the 
Lowlands, and that true godliness is to be reached in another 
way than by the mere practice of sacramental rites. 

These English pietists are to be regarded, however, as iso- 
lated figures who, so far as we know, had no influence in 
preparing the soil for the seed of the Reformation that was 
to come, as had the pietists who lived along the Rhine. 2 

1 The Ladder of Perfection was printed 1494, 1600, and has been recently 
ed. by R. E. Guy, London, 1869, and J. B. Dalgairns, London, 1870. See Inge, 
pp. 81-124 ; Montmorency, Thomas it Kempis, etc., pp. 138-174 ; and Diet, of 
Natl. Biog., XXVI. 435 sqq. 

2 Montmorency, p. 69, makes a remark for which, so far as I know, there 
is no corroborative testimony in the writings of the English Reformers, that 
" in this English mystical movement of which a vast imprinted literature 
survives is to be found the origin of Lollardiam and of the Reformation in 
England.' 9 



88. Sources and Literature. 

HAM : Hist. Anglicana, ed. by RILEY, Rolls Ser., London, 1869. WALTER 
DE HEIMBURGH : Chronicon, ed. by HAMILTON, 2 vols., 1848 sq. ADAM MERI- 
MUTH : Chronicon, and ROBT. DE AVESBURY : De gestis mirabilibus Edwardi 
III., ed. by THOMPSON with Introd., Rolls Ser., 1889. Chron. Angliai (1326- 
1388), ed. by THOMPSON, Rolls Ser., 1874. HENRY KNIGHTON : Chronicon, 
ed. by LUMBY, Rolls Ser., 2 vols., 1895. RANULPH HIGDEN, d. bef. 1400: 
Polychronicon, with trans, by TREVISA, Rolls Ser., 9 vols., 1806-1886. THOS. 
RYMER, d. 1713: Feeder a, Conventions et Litera, London, 1704-1715. 
WILKINS : Concilia. W. C. BLISS : Calendar of Entries in the Papal Reg- 
isters relating to G. Britain and Ireland, vols. IL-IV., London, 1897-1902. 
Vol. II. extends from 1806-1342 ; vol. III., 1342-1382 ; vol. IV., 1362-1404. 
A work of great value. GEE and HARDY : Documents, etc. H ADD AN and 
STUBBS: Councils and Eccles. Doc'ts. STCBBS : Constit. Hist, of Engl., 
III. 294-887. The Him. of Engl., by LINGARD, bks. III., IV., and GREEN, 
bk. IV. CAPES : The Engl. Ch. in the 14th and 15th Centt., London, 1900. 

HALLKR: Papsttum und Kirchenreform, pp. 375-466. JESSOPP: The 
Coming of the Friars. CREIGHTON : Hist, of Epidemics in England. 
GAHQUKT: The Great Pestilence, 1893. RABHDALL and others: Histt. of 
Oxford and Cambridge. The Diet, of Nat. Biog. Also THOS. FULLER'S 
Hist, of Or. Brit., for its general judgments and quaint statements. 
LoflERTH : Studien zur Kirchenpolitik Englands im 14 Jahrh. in Sitzungs- 
berichte d. kaiserl. Akademie d. Wissenschaften in Wien, Vienna, 1897. G. 
KRIEHN : Studies in the Sources of the Social Revol. of 1381, Am. Hist 
Rev., Jan.-Oct., 1902. C. OMAN : The Great Revolt in 1381, Oxford, 1906. 

TRAILL: Social Engl., vol. II, London, 1894. ROGERS: Six Centt. of 
Work and Wages. CUNNINGHAM : Growth of Engl. Industry. 

For 40-42. JOHN WYCLIP. I. The publication of Wyclif s works be- 
longs almost wholly to the last twenty-five years, and began with the creation 
of the Wyclif Society, 1882, which was due to a summons from German 
scholars. In 1868, Shirley, Fasc., p. xlvi, could write, "Of Wye's Engl. 
writings nothing but two short tracts have seen the light," and in 1883, 
Loaerth spoke of his tractates " mouldering in the dust. 1 ' The MSS. are 
found for the most pan in the libraries of Oxford, Prag and Vienna. The 
Trialogus was publ. Basel, 1625, and WycliffJs Wycket, in Engl., NUrnberg, 
1646. Reprinted at Oxford, 1828. Latin Works, ed. by the Wyclif Soc., 
organized, 1882, in answer to Buddensieg'i appeal in the Academy, Sept 17, 


300 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

1881, 31 vols., London, 1884-1907. De officio pastorali, ed. by LBCHLEB, 
Leipzig, 1863. Trialogus, ed. by LECHLER, Oxford, 1809. Z>e veritate sac. 
Scriptures, ed. by RUDOLF BUDDENSIEG, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1904. De potestate 
papae, ed. by LOSERTH, London, 1907. Engl. Works : Three Treatises, by 
J. WYCLIFFE, ed. by J. H. TODD, Dublin, 1851. * Select Engl. Works, ed. 
by THOS. ARNOLD, 3 vols., Oxford, 1809-1871. * Engl. Works Hitherto Un- 
printed, ed. by F. D. MATTHEW, London, 1880, with valuable Introd. 
* WYCLIF'S trans, of the Bible, ed. by FORSHALL and MADDEN, 4 vols. , Ox- 
ford, 1860. His New Test, with Introd. and Glossary, by W. W. SKEAT, 
Cambridge, 1879. The trans, of Job, Pss., Prov., Eccles. and Canticles, 
Cambridge, 1881. For list of Wyclif's works, see CANON W. W. SHIRLEY : 
Cat. of the Works of J. W., Oxford, 1806. He lists 90 Latin and 06 Engl. 
writings. Also LECHLER in his Life of Wtclif, II. 65D-673, Engl, trans., 
pp. 483-498. Also Rashdall's list in Diet, of Nat. Biog. ll. Biographical. 

THOMAS NETTER of Walden, a Carmelite, d. 1430 : Fasciculi zizaniornm 
Magistri Joh. Wyclif cum tritico (Bundles of tares of J Wye. with the wheat), 
a collection of indispensable documents and narrations, ed. by SHIRLK^, 
with valuable Introd., Rolls Ser., London, 1868. Also Doctrinale fidei 
Christianas adv. Wiclcffltas et Hussitas in his Opera, Paris, 1632, best ed., 
3 vols. , Venice, 1767. Walden could discern no defects in the friars, and 
represented the opposite extreme from Wyclif. He sat in the Council of Pisa, 
was provincial of his order in England, and confessor to Henry V. The 
contemporary works given above, Chron. Anglice, Walsingham, Knighton, 
etc. England in the Time of Wycli/e in trans, and reprints, Dept. of Hist. 
Univ. of Pa., 1895. JOHN FOXE : Book of Martyrs, London, 1032, etc. 
JOHN LEWIS : Hist, of the Life and Sufferings of J. W., Oxford, 1720, etc., 
and 1820. R. VAUGHAN : Life and Opinions of J. dp Wyrliffe, 2 vols., Lon- 
don, 1828, 2d ed., 1831. V. LECHLEK : J. von Widif und die Vorgesch. der 
Reformation, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1873. *Engl. trans., J. W and his Engl. 
Precursors, with valuable Notes by PETER LOIUMKR, 2 vols , London, 1878, 
new edd., 1 vol., 1881, 1884. * R. BroDENsiEG . J Wiclif und seine Zeit, 
Gotha, 1883. Also J. W. as Patriot and Reformer, London, 1884. E. S. 
HOLT : J. dc W., the First Reformer, and what he did for England, London, 
1884. V. VATTIER : J. W., sa vie, ses a>uvres et aa doctrine, Paris, 1880. 
* J. LOSBRTH : Hus und Wiclif, Prag and Leipzig, 1883, Engl. trans , London, 
1884. Also WSs Lehre v. wahrem u. falschem Papsttum, in Hist. Zeitschrift, 
1907, p. 237 sqq. L. SERGEANT: John Wyclif, New York, 1893. H. B. 
WORKMAN : The Age of Wyclif, London, 1901. GEO. S. INNES : J. W., Cin'ti. 

J. C. CARRICK : Wye. and the Lollards, London, 1908. C. BIOG, in Way- 
side Sketches in Eccles. Hist., London, 1900. For other Biogg., see SHIRLEY : 
Fasciculus, p. 531 sqq. III. J. L. POOLE : W. and Movements for Reform, 
London, 1889, and W.'B Doctr. of Lordship in Illustr. ofMed. Thought, 1884. 
WIEGAND: De eccles. notione quid Wiclif docuer it, Leipzig, 1891. *G. M. 
TREVELYAN : Engl. in the Age of W., London, 2d ed., 1899. POWELL and 
TREVELYAN : The Peasants' Rising and the Lollards, London, 1899. H. 
FttRBTENAU : J. von W:s Lehren v. d. Stellung d. weltl. Gewalt, Berlin, 1900. 

HADDAN and STUBBS : Councils and Eccles. Docts. GEE and HARDY. 
STUBBS: Constit. Hist., III. 314-374. The Histt. of CAPES, GREEN and 


LINGARD, vol. IV. The Histt. of the Engl. Bible, by EADIE, WESTCOTT, 
Wyclifltie Bible, Engl. Hist. Rev., January, 1896. GASQUET : The Eve of 
the Reformation, new ed., London, 1906 , The Old Engl. Bible and Other 
Essays, London, 1908. R. S. STORRH . J. Wye. and the First Engl. Bible in 
Sermons and Addresses, Boston, 1902. An eloquent address delivered in 
New York on the 600th anniversary of the appearance of WycliP s New Test. 

RASHDALL in Diet, of Natl. Biog., LXIII. 202-223. G. S. INKIS: 
Wycltfe Cin. 

For 43. LOLLARDS. The works noted above of KNIGHTON, WALSING- 
HAM, RYMER'S Foedera, the Chron. Anglics, WALDEN'S Fasc ziz., FOXE'S 
Book of Martyrs. Also ADAM USK : Chronicle. THOB. WRIGHT: Polit. 
Poems and Songs, Rolls Ser., 2 vols., London, 1859. FREDERICQ : Corp. 
inquis. Neerl., vols. I.-III. REGINALD PECOCK : The Repressor of overmuch 
Blaming of the Clergy, ed. by BABINOTON, Rolls Ser., 2 vols., London, 1860. 

The Histt. of Engl. and the Church of Engl. A. M. BROWN : Leaders of 
the Lollards, London, 1848. W. H. SUMMERS : Our Lollard Ancestors, 
London, 1904. * JAMES GAIRDNKR: Lollardy and the Reform, in Engl., 
2 vols., London, 1908. E. I*. CHKYNEY : The Recantations of the Early 
Lollards, Am. Hist. Rev., April, 1899. - H. S. CRONIN : The Twelve Conclu- 
sions of the Lollards, Engl. Hist. Rev., April, 1907. Art. Lollarden, by 
BIDDKNHIKG in HsRzoG, XI. 615-626. %The works of TREVELYAN and 
FORBIIALL and MADDEN, cited above, and Oldcastle, vol. XLII. 86-93, and 
other artt. in Diet, of Nat. Biog. 

For 44-46. JOHN Hrss. Hist, et monumenta J. Hus atque Hieronymi 
I*ragensis, confessorum Christi, 2 vols., Nurnberg, 1668, Frankfurt, 1716. I 
have used the Frankfurt ed. W. FLAJSHANS . Mag. J. Hus Expositio Deca- 
logi, Prag, 1903; De corpore Christi: De sanguine Christi, Frag, 1904 ; Ser- 
mones de sanctis, Prag, 1908 ; Super quatuor sententiarum, etc. * FRANCIS 
PA LACK Y Docnmenta Mag. J. Hus, vifam, tloctrinam, causam in Constan- 
tiensi actam consiho iHustrantia, 1403-1418, pp. 708, Prag, 1869. Largely 
from unpublished sources. Contains the account of Peter of Mladenowitz, 
who was with Huss at Constance. K. J. ERBEN (archivanus of Prag) : 
Mistra Jana Hiwi sebrane spisy Czeske. A collection of Huss' Bohemian 
writings, 3 vols., Prag, 1866-1868. Trans, of Huss' Letters, first by LUTHER, 
Wittenberg, 1636 (four of them, together with an account by Luther of Huss* 
trial and death), republ. by C. VON KUGELGEN, Leipzig, 1902. MACKENZIE : 
7/M/w 1 Letters, Edinburgh, 1846. * H. B. WORKMAN and R. M. POPE : Letters 
of J. Hus with Notes. For works on the Council of Constance, see MANSI, 
HOFLEB: Geschichtsschreiber der hussitinchen Beioegung, 3 vols., Vienna, 
1856-1866. Contains Mladenowitz and other contemporary documents. 
* I'ALACKT, a descendant of the Bohemian Brethren, d. 1876 : Oeschichte von 
Bohmen, Prag, 1886 sqq., 3d ed., 6 vols., 1864 sqq. Vol. III. of the first ed. 
was mutilated at Vienna by the censor of the press (the office not being 
abolished till 1848), on account of the true light in which Huss was placed. 
Nevertheless, it made such an impression that Baron Helfert was commis- 
sioned to write a reply, which appeared, Prag, 1867, pp. 287. In 1870, 
Palaoky publ. a second ed. of vol. III., containing all the excerpted parts. 

802 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

PALACKT: Die Vorlaufer des Hussitenthums in Btihmen, Prag, 1869. 
L. KOHLER : J. Hus u. *. Zeit, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1846. E. H. GILLETT, Prof, 
in New York Univ., d. New York, 1876 : Life and Times of J. Hues, 2 vols., 
Boston, 1863, 3d ed., 1871. W. BBROER : J. Hus u. Kdnig Sigismund, 
Augsburg, 1871. BONNKCHOBK : J. Hus u. das Condi zu Kostnitz, Germ, 
trans., 3d ed., Leipzig, 1870. F. v. BEZOLD : Zur Gesch. d. Husitenthums, 
Munich, 1874. E. DENIS : Buss et la guerre des Hussites, Paris, 1878. 
A. H. WRATJBLAW : J. Hus, London, 1882. * J. LOSERTH : Widifand Hus, 
also Beitrdge zur Oesch. der Hussit. Bewegung, 6 small vols., 1877-1896, re- 
printed from magazines. Also Introd. to his ed. of Wielif s De ecclesia. 
Also art. J. Huss in HERZOO, Encyc., VIII. 473-489. LECHLER : J. Hm, 
Leipzig, 1890. * J. H. WYLIE : The Counc. of Constance to the Death of 
J. Hus, London, 1900. * H. B. WORKMAN : The Dawn, of the Reformation, 
The Age of Hus, London, 1902. LEA : Hist, of the Inquis., II. 431-6<J6. 
Hefele, vol. VII. * J. B. SCHWAB . J. Gerson, pp. 627-609. THCHACKERT : 
Von Ailli, pp. 218-236. W. FABER and J. KURTH : Wie sah Hus aus f 
Berlin, 1907. Also J. Huss by LttTzow, N.Y., 1909, and KUHR, Cin. 

Basiliense. BEZOLD : Konig Sigismund und d. JReichskriege, gegen d. Husi- 
ten, 3 vols, Munich, 1872-1877. *JAROSLAV GOLL: Quellen und Unter- 
suchungen zur Gesch. der Bohmischen Brtider, 2 vols., Pra#, 1878-1882. 
* L. KELLER : Die Reformation und die alteren Reformparteien, Leipzig, 
1885. W. PREOER : Ueber das Verhdltni** der Taboriten zu den Waldesiern, 
des Ijten Jahrh., 1887. HAL'PT: Waldenserthum und Inquisition im siid- 
ostlichen Deutschland, Freiburg i. Br., 1890. H. HERRE : Die Husiten- 
verhandlungen, 1429, in Quellen u. Forxchungen d. Hist Inst. von Rom, 
1899. *K. MULLER: Bohm. Bruder, HERZOO, III. 446-467. E. DB 
SCHWEIICITZ : The Hist, of the Church known as the Unitas fratrum, Beth- 
lehem, 1886. Also HERQENROTHER-KIRSCH : Kirchengesch. , II. 886-903. 

39. The Church in England in the Fourteenth Century. 

The 14th century witnessed greater social changes in Eng- 
land than any other century except the 19th. These changes 
were in large part a result of the hundred years' war with 
France, which began in 1337, and the terrible ravages of the 
Black Death. The century was marked by the legal adop- 
tion of the English tongue as the language of the country and 
the increased respect for parliament, in whose counsels the 
rich burgher class demanded a voice, and its definite division 
into two houses, 1341. The social unrest of the land found 
expression in popular harangues, poems, and tracts, affirming 
the rights of the villein and serf class, and in the uprising 
known as the Peasants 9 Revolt. 


The distinctly religious life of England, in this period, was 
marked by obstinate resistance to the papal claims of juris- 
diction, culminating in the Acts of Provisors, and by the ap- 
pearance of John Wyclif , one of the most original and vigor- 
ous personalities the English Church has produced. 

An industrial revolution was precipitated on the island by 
the Great Pestilence of 1348. The necessities of life rose enor- 
mously in value. Large tracts of land passed back from the 
smaller tenants into the hands of the landowners of the gen- 
try class. The sheep and the cattle, as a contemporary wrote, 
" strayed through the fields and grain, and there was no one 
who could drive them." The serfs and villeins found in the 
disorder of society an opportunity to escape from the yoke of 
servitude, and discovered in roving or in independent engage- 
ments the joys of a new-found freedom. These unsettled con- 
ditions called forth the famous statutes of Edward III.'s reign, 
1327-1377, regulating wages and the prices of commodities. 

The popular discontent arising from these regulations, and 
from the increased taxation necessitated by the wars with 
France, took the form of organized rebellion. The age of 
feudalism was coming to an end. The old ideas of labor and 
the tiller of the soil were beginning to give way before more 
just modes of thought. Among the agitators were John Ball, 
whom Froissart, with characteristic aristocratic indifference, 
called "the mad priest of Kent," the poet Longland and the 
insurgent leader, Watt Tyler. In his harangues, Ball fired 
popular feeling by appeals to the original rights of man. By 
what right, he exclaimed, " are they, who are called lords, 
greater folk than we ? On what grounds do they hold us in 
vassalage ? Do not we all come from the same father and 
mother, Adam and Eve?" The spirit of individual freedom 
breathed itself out in the effective rhyme, which ran like wild- 

When Adam delved and Ere span 
Who was then the gentleman ? 

The rhymes, which Will Longland sent forth in his 
Complaint of Pier* Ploughman^ ventilated the sufferings and 
demands of the day laborer and called for fair treatment such 

304 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

as brother has a right to expect from brother. Gentleman 
and villein faced the same eternal destinies. " Though he be 
thine underling," the poet wrote, " mayhap in heaven, he will 
be worthier set and with more bliss than thou." The rising 
sense of national importance and individual dignity was fed 
by the victory of Crecy, 1346, where the little iron balls, used 
for the first time, frightened the horses ; by the battle of Poic- 
tiers ten years later ; by the treaty of Br^tigny, 1360, whereby 
Edward was confirmed in the possession of large portions of 
France, and by the exploits of the Black Prince. The specta- 
cle of the French king, John, a captive on the streets of Lon- 
don, made a deep impression. These events and the legali- 
zation of the English tongue, 1362, 1 contributed to develop a 
national and patriotic sentiment before unknown in England. 

The uprising, which broke out in 1381, was a vigorous as- 
sertion of the popular demand for a redress of the social in- 
equalities between classes in England. The insurgent bands, 
which marched to London, were pacified by the fair promises 
of Richard II., but the Kentish band led by Watt Tyler, be- 
fore dispersing, took the Tower and put the primate, Sudbury, 
to death. He had refused to favor the repeal of the hated de- 
capitation tax. The abbeys of St. Albans and Edmondsbury 
were plundered and the monks ill treated, but these acts of 
violence were a small affair compared with the perpetual im- 
port of the uprising for the social and industrial well-being of 
the English people. The demands of the insurgents, as they 
bore on the clergy, insisted that Church lands and goods, after 
sufficient allowance had been made for the reasonable wants 
of the clergy, should be distributed among the parishioners, 
and that there should be a single bishop for England. This 
involved a rupture with Rome. 2 

It was inevitable that the Church should feel the effects of 
these changes. Its wealth, which is computed to have cov- 

1 Mandeville composed his travels in 1356 in French, and then translated 
out of French into English, that every man of his nation might understand. 
Trevisa, writing in 1387, said that all grammar schools and English children 
"leaveth French and construeth and learncth English. " 

a See Krlehn, Am. Hist. Rev., pp. 480, 483. 


ered one-third of the landed property of the realm, and the 
idleness and mendicancy of the friars, awakened widespread 
murmur and discontent. The ravages made among the clergy 
by the Black Death rendered necessary extraordinary meas- 
ures to recruit its ranks. The bishop of Norwich was author- 
ized to replace the dead by ordaining 60 young men before the 
canonical age. With the rise of the staples of living, the sti- 
pends of the vast body of the priestly class was rendered still 
more inadequate. Archbishop Islip of Canterbury and other 
prelates, while recognizing in their pastorals the prevalent un- 
rest, instead of showing proper sympathy, condemned the cov- 
etousness of the clergy. On the other hand, Longland wrote 
of the shifts to which they were put to eke out a living by 
accepting secular and often menial employment in the royal 
palace and the halls of the gentry class. 

Parson and parish priest pleyued to the bishop, 
That their parishes were pore sith the pestilence tym, 
To have a license and a leve at London to dwelle 
And Ryu gen there for symonye, for silver is swete. 

There was a movement from within the English people to 
limit the power of the bishops and to call forth spirituality and 
efficiency in the clergy. The bishops, powerful as they re- 
mained, were divested of some of their prestige by the parlia- 
mentary decision of 1370, restricting high offices of state to 
laymen. The first lay chancellor was appointed in 1340. The 
bishop, however, was a great personage, and woe to the parish 
that did not make fitting preparations for his entertainment 
and have the bells rung on his arrival. Archbishop Arundel, 
Foxe quaintly says, " took great snuff and did suspend all such 
as did not receive him with the noise of bells." Each diocese 
had its own prison, into which the bishop thrust refractory 
clerics for penance or severer punishment. 

The mass of the clergy had little learning. The stalls and 
canonries, with attractive incomes, where they did not go to 
foreigners, were regarded as the proper prizes of the younger 
sons of noblemen. On the other hand, the prelates lived in 
abundance. The famous bishop of Winchester, William of 
Wy keham, counted fifty manors of his own . In the larger ones, 

806 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

official residences were maintained, including hall and chapel. 
This prelate travelled from one to the other, taking reckonings 
of his stewards, receiving applications for the tonsure and 
ordination and attending to other official business. Many of 
the lower clergy were taken from the villein class, whose sons 
required special exemption to attend school. The day they 
received orders they were manumitted. 

The benefit of clergy, so called, continued to be a source of 
injustice to the people at large. By the middle of the 13th 
century, the Church's claim to tithes was extended not only to 
the products of the field, but the poultry of the yard and the 
cattle of the stall, to the catch of fish and the game of the 
forests. Wills almost invariably gave to the priest " the best 
animal" or the "best quick good." The Church received and 
gave not back, and, in spite of the statute of Mortmain, be- 
quests continued to be made to her. It came, however, to be 
regarded as a settled principle that the property of Church and 
clergy was amenable to civil taxation, and bishops, willingly 
or by compulsion, loaned money to the king. The demands of 
the French campaigns made such taxation imperative. 

Indulgences were freely announced to procure aid for the 
building of churches, as in the case of York Cathedral, 1396, 
the erection of bridges, the filling up of muddy roads and for 
other public improvements. The clergy, though denied the 
right of participating in bowling and even in the pastime of 
checkers, took part in village festivities such as the Church- 
ale, a sort of mediaeval donation party, in which there was gen- 
eral merrymaking, ale was brewed, and the people drank freely 
to the health of the priest and for the benefit of the Church. 
As for the morals of the clergy, care must always be had not 
to base sweeping statements upon delinquencies which are apt 
to be emphasized out of proportion to tiieir extent. It is cer- 
tain, however, that celibacy was by no means universally en- 
forced, and frequent notices occur of dispensations given to 
clergymen of illegitimate birth. Bishop Quevil of Exeter com- 
plained that priests with families invested their savings for the 
benefit of their marital partners and their children. In the 
next period, in 1452, De la Bere, bishop of St. David's, by his 


own statement, drew 400 marks yearly from priests for the priv- 
ilege of having concubines, a noble, equal in value to a mark, 
from each one. 1 Gower, in his Vox clamantis, gave a dark 
picture of clerical habits, and charges the clergy with coarse 
vices such as now are scarcely dreamed of. The Church his- 
torian, Capes, concludes that "immorality and negligence were 
widely spread among the clergy." 2 The decline of discipline 
among the friars, and their rude manners, a prominent feature 
of the times, came in for the strictures of Fitzralph of Armagh, 
severe condemnation at the hands of Wyclif and playful sar- 
casm from the pen of Chaucer. The zeal for learning which 
had characterized them on their first arrival in England, early 
in the 13th century, had given way to self-satisfied idleness. 
Fitzralph, who was fellow of Balliol, and probably chancellor 
of the University of Oxford, before being raised to the episco- 
pate, incurred the hostility of the friars by a series of sermons 
against the Franciscan theory of evangelical poverty. He 
claimed it was not scriptural nor derived from the customs of 
the primitive Church. For his temerity he was compelled to 
answer at Avignon, where he seems to have died about the 
year I860. 8 Of the four orders of mendicants, the Franciscans, 
Dominicans, Carmelites and Augustinians, Longland sang that 


Preached the people for profit and themselve 

Closed the Gospel as them good lyked, 

For covetis of copis construed it as they would. 

Of the ecclesiastics of the century, if we except Wyclif, prob- 
ably the most noted are Thomas Bradwardine and William of 
Wykeham, the one the representative of scholarly study, the 
other of ecclesiastical power. Bradwardine, theologian, phi- 

1 Gascoigne, as quoted by Gairdner : Lollardy and the Reform., I. 262. 

L p. 263. 

8 His Defentio curatorum contra eos qm privilegatos se dicunt is printed in 
Goldast, IL 466 sqq. See art. Fitzralph, by R. L. Poole, Diet, of Nat. Biog., 
XIX. 194-198. Four books of Fitzralph's Depaupene salvatoris were printed 
for the first time by Poole in his ed. of Wyclif f s De dominio, pp. 267-477. 
As for libraries, Fitzralph says that in every English convent there was a grand 
library. On the other hand, the author of the Philobiblion, Rich, de Bury, 
charges the friars with losing their interest in books. 

308 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

losopher, mathematician and astronomer, was a student at Mer- 
ton College, Oxford, 1325. At Avignon, whither he went to 
receive consecration to the see of Canterbury, 1349, he had a 
strange experience. During the banquet given by Clement VI. 
the doors were thrown open and a clown entered, seated on a 
jackass, and humbly petitioned the pontiff to be made arch- 
bishop of Canterbury. This insult, gotten up by Clement's 
nephew Hugo, cardinal of Tudela, and other members of the 
sacred college, was in allusion to the remark made by the pope 
that, if the king of England would ask him to appoint a jackass 
to a bishopric, he would not dare to refuse. The sport throws 
an unpleasant light upon the ideals of the curia, but at the 
same time bears witness to the attempt which was being made 
in England to control the appointment of ecclesiastics. Brad- 
wardine enjoyed such an enviable reputation that Wyclif and 
other English contemporaries gave him the title, the Profound 
Doctor doctor profundu*. 1 In his chief work on grace and 
freewill, delivered as a series of lectures at Merton, he declared 
that the Church was running after Pelagius. 2 In the philo- 
sophical schools he had rarely heard any tiling about grace, but 
all day long the assertions that we are masters of our own wills. 
He was a determinist. All things, he affirmed, which occur, 
occur by the necessity of the first cause. In his Nun's Tale, 
speaking of God's predestination, Chaucer says : 
But he cannot boult it to the bren 
As can the holie rloctour, 8. Austin, 
Or Boece (Boethius), or the Bishop Bradwardine. 

Wykeham, 1324-1404, the pattern of a worldly and aristo- 
cratic prelate, was an unblushing pluralist, and his see of Win- 
chester is said to have brought him in 60,000 of our money 
annually. In 1361 alone, he received prebends in St. Paul's, 
Hereford, Salisbury, St. David's, Beverley, Bromyard, Wher- 
well Abergwili, and Llanddewi Brewi, and in the following 

1 Wyclif: De writ, cr., I. 30, 109, etc. 

3 De causa Dei contra Pelagium el de virtute cauaarum ad suos Mertinenses, 
ed. by Sir Henry Saville, London, 1618. For other works, see Seeberg's art. 
in Herzog, III. 360, and Stephens in Diet, of Nat. Biog., VI. 188 sq. Also 
S. Hahn, That. Bradwardinus, und teine Lehre von d. menschl. Willens- 
freiheit, Munster, 1905. 


year Lincoln, York, Wells and Hastings. He occupied for a 
time the chief office of chancellor, but fell into disrepute. His 
memory is preserved in Winchester School and in New Col- 
lege, Oxford, which he founded. The princely endowment 
of New College, the first stones of which were laid in 1387, 
embraced 100 scholarships. These gifts place Wykeham in 
the first rank of English patrons of learning at the side of 
Cardinal Wolsey. He also has a place in the manuals of the 
courtesies of life by his famous words, " Manners makyth 
man." 1 

The struggles of previous centuries against the encroach- 
ment of Rome upon the temporalities of the English Church 
was maintained in this period. The complaint made by Mat- 
thew Paris 2 that the English Church was kept between two 
millstones, the king and the pope, remained true, with this 
difference, however, the king's influence came to preponderate. 
Acts of parliament emphasized his right to dictate or veto 
ecclesiastical appointments and recognized his sovereign pre- 
rogative to tax Church property. The evident support which 
the pope gave to France in her wars with England and the 
scandals of the Avignon residence were favorable to the crown's 
assertion of authority in these respects. Wyclif frequently 
complained that the pope and cardinals were " in league with 
the enemies of the English kingdom " 8 and the papal registers 
of the Avignon period, which record the appeals sent to the 
English king to conclude peace with France, almost always 
mention terms that would have made France the gainer. At 
the outbreak of the war, 1339, Edward III. proudly complained 
that it broke his heart to see that the French troops were paid 
in part with papal funds. 4 

The three most important religious acts of England between 
John's surrender of his crown to Innocent III. and the Act of 
Supremacy, 1534, were the parliamentary statutes of Mort- 

1 See art. by Tait in Diet, of Nat. Biog., LXIII. 226-231. 

* Rolls Series, IV. 669. 8 De eccles., p. 832. 

4 Walsingham, Hist. Angl. t I. 200 sqq., and the pope's reply, p. 208 sqq. 
Benedict showed his complete devotion to the French king when he wrote 
that, if he had two souls, one of them should be given for him. Quoted by 
Loserth, Stud, zur Kirchenpol., p. 20. 

810 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

main, 1279, of Provisory 1351, and for the burning of heretics, 
1401. The statute of Mortmain or Dead-hand forbade the 
alienation of lands so as to remove them from the obligation 
of service or taxation to the secular power. The statute of 
Provisors, renewed and enlarged in the acts of Prsemunire, 
1353, 1390 and 1393, concerned the subject of the papal rights 
over appointments and the temporalities of the English Church. 
This old bone of contention was taken up early in the 14th 
century in the statute of Carlyle, 1307, 1 which forbade aliens, 
appointed to visit religious houses in England, taking moneys 
with them out of the land and also the payment of tallages and 
impositions laid upon religious establishments from abroad. 
In 1343, parliament called upon the pope to recall all " reserva- 
tions, provisions and collations " which, as it affirmed, checked 
Church improvements and the flow of alms. It further pro- 
tested against the appointment of aliens to English livings, 
"some of them our enemies who know not our language." 
Clement VI., replying to the briefs of the king and parliament, 
declared that, when he made provisions and reservations, it 
was for the good of the Church, and exhorted Edward to act 
as a Catholic prince should and to permit nothing to be done 
in his realm inimical to the Roman Church and ecclesiastical 
liberty. Such liberty the pope said he would " defend as hav- 
ing to give account at the last judgment." Liberty in this 
case meant the free and unhampered exercise of the lordly 
claims made by his predecessors from Hildebrand down. 2 
Thomas Fuller was close to the truth, when, defining papal 
provisions and reservations, he wrote, " When any bishopric, 
abbot's place, dignity or good living (aquila non capit musca* 
the eagle does not take note of flies) was like to be void, 
the pope, by a profitable prolepsis to himself, predisposed such 
places to such successors as he pleased. By this device he de- 
feated, when he so pleased, the legal election of all convents 
and rightful presentation of all patrons." 

1 Gee and Hardy, pp. 92-94. 

8 For the text of the parliamentary brief and the king's letter, which was 
written in French, see Merimuth, p. 138 sqq., 163 sqq., and for Clement's 
reply, Bliss, III., 9 sqq. 


The memorable statute of Provisors forbade all papal pro- 
visions and reservations and all taxation of Church property 
contrary to the customs of England. The act of 1353 sought 
more effectually to clip the pope's power by forbidding the 
carrying of any suit against an English patron before a for- 
eign tribunal. 1 

To these laws the pope paid only so much heed as expedi- 
ency required. This claim, made by one of his predecessors in 
the bull Cupientes, to the right to fill all the benefices of Chris- 
tendom, he had no idea of abandoning, and, whenever it was 
possible, he provided for his hungry family of cardinals and 
other ecclesiastics out of the proverbially fat appointments 
of England. Indeed, the cases of such appointments given 
by Merimuth, and especially in the papal books as printed by 
Bliss, are so recurrent that one might easily get the impression 
that the pontiff's only concern for the English Church was to 
see that its livings were put into the hands of foreigners. I 
have counted the numbers in several places as given by Bliss. 
On one page, 4 out of 9 entries were papal appointments. A 
section of 2 pages announces " provisions of a canonry, with 
expectation of a prebend " in the following churches : 7 in 
Lincoln, 5 in Salisbury, 2 in Chichester, and 1 each in Wells, 
York, Exeter, St. Patrick's, Dublin, Moray, Southwell, How- 
den, Ross, Aberdeen, Wilton. 2 From 1342-1385 the deanery 
of York was held successively by three Roman cardinals. In 
1374, the incomes of the treasurer, dean and two archdeaneries 
of Salisbury went the same way. At the close of Edward 
III.'s reign, foreign cardinals held the deaneries of York, 
Salisbury and Lichfield, the archdeanery of Canterbury, re- 
puted to be the richest of English preferments, and innumer- 
able prebends. Bishops and abbots-elect had to travel to 
Avignon and often spend months and much money in securing 
confirmation to their appointments, and, in cases, the prelate- 

1 See the texts of these statutes in Gee and Hardy, 108 sqq., 112-123. 
With reference to the renewal of the act in 1390, Fuller quaintly says: "It 
mauled the papal power in the land. Some former laws had pared the pope's 
nails to the quick, but this cut off his fingers. 11 

2 II. 346 ; III. 64 sq. Prebend has reference to the stipend, canonry to 
the office. 

812 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

elect was set aside on the ground that provision had already 
been made for his office. As for sees reserved by the pope, 
Stubbs gives the following list, extending over a brief term 
of years : Worcester, Hereford, Durham and Rochester, 1317 ; 
Lincoln and Winchester, 1320 ; Lichfield, 1322 ; Winchester, 
1323 ; Carlisle and Norwich, 1325 ; Worcester, Exeter and 
Hereford, 1327; Bath, 1329; Durham, Canterbury, Win- 
chester and Worcester, 1334. Provisions were made in full 
recognition of the plural system. Thus, Walter of London, 
the king's confessor, was appointed by the pope to the deanery 
of Wells, though, as stated in the papal brief, he already held 
a considerable list of "canonries and prebends," Lincoln, Salis- 
bury, St. Paul, St. Martin Le Grand, London, Hridgenorth, 
Hastings and Hareswell in the diocese of Salisbury. 1 By the 
practice of promoting bishops from one see to another, the 
pope accomplished for his favorites what he could not have 
done in any other way. Thus, by the promotion of Sudbury 
in 1374 to Canterbury, the pope was able to translate Courte- 
nay from Hereford to London, and Gilbert from Bangor to 
Hereford, and thus by a single stroke he was enriched by the 
first-fruits of four sees. 

In spite of legislation, the papal collectors continued to ply 
their trade in England, but less publicly and confidently than 
in the two preceding centuries. In 1379, Urban VI. sent Cos- 
mat us Gentilis as his nuncio and collector-in-chief,with instruc- 
tions that he and his subcollectors make speedy returns to Rome, 
especially of Peter's pence. 2 In 1375, Gregory XI. had called 
upon the archbishops of Canterbury and York to collect a tax 
of 60,000 florins for the defence of the lands of the Apostolic 

1 Bliss, II. 521. Cases of the payment of large sums for appointments to 
the pope and of the disappointed ecclesiastics-elect are given in Merimuth, 
pp. 31, 67, 69, 60, 61, 71, 120, 124, 172, etc., Bliss and others. Merimuth, 
p. 67, etc., refers constantly to the bribery used by such expressions as causa 
pecunialiter cognita, and non sine magna pecunice quantitate. In cases, the 
pope renounced the right of provision, as Clement V., hi 1308, the livings held 
incommendam by the cardinal of St. Sabina, and valued at 1000 marks. See 
Bliss, II. 48. For the cases of agents sent by two cardinals to England to 
collect the incomes of their livings, and their imprisonment, see Walsinghain, 
1.260. * Bliss, IV. 267. 


see, the English benefices, however, held by cardinals being ex- 
empted. The chronicler Merimuth, in a noteworthy paragraph 
summing up the curial practice of foraging upon the English 
sees and churches, emphasizes the persistence and shrewdness 
with which the Apostolic chair from the time of Clement V. had 
extorted gold and riches as though the English might be treated 
as barbarians. John XXII. he represents as having reserved 
all the good livings of England. Under Benedict XII., things 
were not so bad. Benedicts successor, Clement VI., was of 
all the offenders the most unscrupulous, reserving for himself 
or distributing to members of the curia the fattest places in 
England. England's very enemies, as Merimuth continues, 
were thus put into possession of English revenues, and the 
proverb became current at Avignon that the English were 
like docile asses bearing all the burdens heaped upon them. 1 
This prodigal Frenchman threatened Edward III. with ex- 
communication and the land with interdict, if resistance to his 
appointments did not cease and if their revenues continued 
to be withheld. The pope died in 1353, before the date set 
for the execution of his wrathful threat. While France was 
being made English by English arms, the Italian and French 
ecclesiastics were making conquest of England's resources. 

The great name of Wyclif, which appears distinctly in 1366, 
represents the patriotic element in all its strength. In his 
discussions of lordship, presented in two extensive treatises, he 
set forth the theory of the headship of the sovereign over the 
temporal affairs of the Church in his own dominions, even to 
the seizure of its temporalities. In him, the Church witnessed 
an ecclesiastic of equal metal with Thomas a Becket, a man, 
however, who did not stoop, in his love for his order, to humili- 
ate the state under the hand of the Church. He represented 
the popular will, the common sense of mankind in regard to 

1 Inter curiales vcrtitur in proverbium quod Angliti svnt boni asini, omnia 
onera eis imposita et intolerabiUa supportantes. Merimuth, p. 176. To 
these bunions imposed upon England by the papal see were added, as in 
Matthew Paris* times, severe calamities from rain and cold. Merimuth tells 
of a great flood in 1339, when the rain fell from October to the first of Decem- 
ber, so that the country looked like a continuous sea. Then bitter cold setting 
in, the country looked like one field of ice. 

314 THE MIDDLE AGES, A.D. 1294-1517. 

the province of the Church, the New Testament theory of the 
spiritual sphere. Had he not been practically alone, he would 
have anticipated by more than two centuries the limitation of 
the pope's power in England. 

40. John Wyclif. 

u A good man was there of religioun 
That was a pore Persone of a town ; 
But rich he was of holy thought and werk ; 
He was also a lerned man, a clerk, 
That Chrisies gospel trewly wolde preche. 

This noble ensample to his shepe he gaf, 
That first he wrought and after that he taught 

A better priest I trow that nowhere uon is, 
He waited after no pompe ne reverence ; 
Ne maked him no spiced conscience, 
But Christes lore and his apostles twelve 
He taught, but first he folwed it hirnselve." 1 


The title, Reformers before the Reformation, has been aptly 
given to a group of men of the 14th and 15th centuries who 
anticipated many of the teachings of Luther and the Protestant 
Reformers. They stand, each by himself, in solitary promi- 
nence, Wyclif in England, John Huss in Bohemia, Savonarola 
in Florence, and Wessel, Goch and Wesel in Northern Germany. 
To these men the sculptor has given a place on the pedestal of 
his famous group at Worms representing the Reformation of 
the 1 6th century. They differ, if we except the moral reformer, 
Savonarola, from the group of the German mystics, who sought 
a purification of life in quiet ways, in having expressed open 
dissent from the Church's ritual and doctrinal teachings. They 
also differ from the group of ecclesiastical reformers, D'Ailly, 
Gerson, Nicolas of Clamanges, who concerned themselves with 
the fabric of the canon law and did not go beyond the correc- 
tion of abuses in the administration and morals of the Church. 
Wyclif and his successors were doctrinal reformers. In some 

1 Often supposed to be a description of Wyclif. 

40. JOHN WYCLIF. 315 

views they had been anticipated by Marsiglius of Padua and 
the other assailants of the papacy of the early half of the 14th 

John Wyclif, called the Morning Star of the Reformation, 
and, at the time of his death, in England and in Bohemia the 
Evangelical doctor, 1 was born about 1324 near the village of 
Wyclif, Yorkshire, in the diocese of Durham. 2 His own writ- 
ings give scarcely a clew to the events of his career, and little 
can be gathered from his immediate contemporaries. He was 
of Saxon blood. His studies were pursued at Oxford, which 
had six colleges. He was a student at Balliol and master of 
that hall in 1361. He was also connected with Merton and 
Queen's, and was probably master of Canterbury Hall, founded 
by Archbishop Islip. 8 He was appointed in succession to the 
livings of Fillingham, 1363, Ludgershall, 1368, and by the king's 
appointment, to Lutterworth, 1374. The living of Lutter- 
worth was valued at 26 a year. 

Wyclif occupies a distinguished place as an Oxford school- 
man, a patriot, a champion of theological and practical reforms 

Fasciculi, p. 362. 

9 Leland's Itinerary placed Wyclif 's birth in 1324. Buddensieg and Rash- 
dall prefer 1330. Leland, our first authority for the place of birth, mentions 
Spresswell ( Hipgwell) and Wyclif-on-Tees, places a half a mile apart. Wyclif 's 
name is spelled in more than twenty different ways, as Wiclif, accepted by 
Lechler, Loserth, Buddensieg and German scholars generally ; Wiclef, Wicliffe, 
Wicleff, Wycleff, Wycliffe, adopted by Foxe, Milman, Poole, Stubbs, Rashdall, 
Bigg; Wyclif preferred by Shirley, Matthew, Sergeant, the Wyclif Society, the 
Early English Text Society, etc. The form Wyclif is found in a diocesan 
register of 1361, when the Reformer was warden of Balliol College. The earliest 
mention in an official state document, July 26, 1374, gives it Wiclif. On Wyclif s 
birthplace, see Shirley, Fasciculi, p. x sqq. 

* A Wyclif is mentioned in connection with all of these colleges. The 
question is whether there were not two John Wyclifs. A John de Whytecly ve 
was rector of Mayfield, 1301, and later of Horsted Kaynes, where he died, 
1383. In 1366 Islip, writing from Mayfleld, appointed a John Wyclyve war- 
den of Canterbury Hall. Shirley, Note on the two Wiclifs, in the Fasciculi, 
p. 618 sqq., advocated the view that this Wyclif was a different person from 
our John Wyclif, and he is followed by Poole, Rashdall and Sergeant. Prin- 
cipal Wilkinson of Marlborough College, Ch. Quart. Rev., October, 1877, 
makes a strong statement against this view; Lechler and Buddensieg, the two 
leading German authorities on Wyclif s career, also admit only a single Wyclif 
as connected with the Oxford Halls. 

316 THB MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

and the translator of the Scriptures into English. The papal 
schism, occurring in the midst of his public career, had an im- 
portant bearing on his views of papal authority. 

So far as is known, he confined himself, until 1366, to his 
duties in Oxford and his parish work. In that year he ap- 
pears as one of the king's chaplains and as opposed to the 
papal supremacy in the ecclesiastial affairs of the realm. The 
parliament of the same year refused Urban V.'s demand for 
the payment of the tribute, promised by King John, which 
was back 33 years. John, it declared, had no right to obli- 
gate the kingdom to a foreign ruler without the nation's con- 
sent. Wyclif, if not a member of this body, was certainly an 
adviser to it. 1 

In the summer of 1374, Wyclif went to Bruges as a member 
of the commission appointed by the king to negotiate peace 
with France and to treat with the pope's agents on the filling 
of ecclesiastical appointments in England. His name was 
second in the list of commissioners, following the name of 
the bishop of Bangor. At Bruges we find him for the first 
time in close association with John of Guunt, Edward's fa- 
vorite son, an association which continued for several years, 
and for a time inured to his protection from ecclesiastical 
violence. 2 

On his return to England, he began to speak as a religious 
reformer. He preached in Oxford and London against the 
pope's secular sovereignty, running about, as the old chroni- 
cler has it, from place to place, and barkingagainst the Church. 3 
It was soon after this that, in one of his tracts, he styled the 
bishop of Rome " the anti-Christ, the proud, worldly priest of 
Rome, and the most cursed of clippers and cut-purses." He 
maintained that he " has no more power in binding and loos- 

1 So Lechler, who advances strong arguments in favor of this view. Lo- 
serth, who is followed by Rashdall, brings considerations against it, and places 
Wyclif 'a first appearance as a political reformer in 1376. Studien zur Kirch- 
cnpol., etc., pp. 1, 32, 35, 44, 60. A serious difficulty with this view is that 
it crowds almost all the Reformer's writings into 7 years. 

2 John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, was the younger brother of the Black 
Prince. The prince had returned from his victories in France to die of an 
incurable disease. * Chron. Angl. , p. 1 16 sq. 

40, JOHN WYCLIF. 317 

ing than any priest, and that the temporal lords may seize the 
possessions of the clergy if pressed by necessity." The duke 
of Lancaster, the clergy's open foe, headed a movement to 
confiscate ecclesiastical property. Piers Ploughman had an 
extensive public opinion behind him when he exclaimed, "Take 
her lands, ye Lords, and let her live by dimes (tithes)." The 
Good Parliament of 1376, to whose deliberation Wyclif con- 
tributed by voice and pen, gave emphatic expression to the 
public complaints against the hierarchy. 

The Oxford professor's attitude had become too flagrant 
to be suffered to go unrebuked. In 1377, he was summoned 
before the tribunal of William Courtenay, bishop of London, at 
St. Paul's, where the proceedings opened with a violent alter- 
cation between the bishop and the duke. The question was 
as to whether Wyclif should take a seat or continue standing 
in the court. Percy, lord marshal of England, ordered him 
to sit down, a proposal the bishop pronounced an unheard-of 
indignity to the court. At this, Lancaster, who was present, 
swore he would bring down Courtenay's pride and the pride 
of all the prelates in England. "Do your best, Sir," was 
the spirited retort of the bishop, who was a son of the duke 
of Devonshire. A popular tumult ensued, Wyclif being pro- 
tected by Lancaster. 

Pope Gregory XI. himself now took notice of the offender 
in a document condemning 19 sentences from his writings as 
erroneous and dangerous to Church and state. In fact, he 
issued a batch of at least five bulls, addressed to the archbishop 
of Canterbury, the bishop of London, the University of Ox- 
ford and the king, Edward III. The communication to Arch- 
bishop Sudbury opened with an unctuous panegyric of Eng- 
land's past most glorious piety and the renown of its Church 
leaders, champions of the orthodox faith and instructors not 
only of their own but of other peoples in the path of the 
Lord's commandments. But it had come to his ears that the 
Lutterworth rector had broken forth into such detestable 
madness as not to shrink from publicly proclaiming false prop- 
ositions which threatened the stability of the entire Church. 
His Holiness, therefore, called upon the archbishop to have 

318 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

John sent to prison and kept in bonds till final sentence 
should be passed by the papal court. 1 It seems that the vice- 
chancellor of Oxford at least made a show of complying with 
the pope's command and remanded the heretical doctor to 
Black Hall, but the imprisonment was only nominal. 

Fortunately, the pope might send forth his f ulminations to 
bind and imprison but it was not wholly in his power to hold 
the truth in bonds and to check the progress of thought. In 
his letter to the chancellor of Oxford, Gregory alleged that 
Wyclif was vomiting out of the filthy dungeon of his heart 
most wicked and damnable heresies, whereby he hoped to pol- 
lute the faithful and bring them to the precipice of perdition, 
overthrow the Church and subvert the secular estate. The 
disturber was put into the same category with those princes 
among errorists, Marsiglius of Padua and John of Jandun. 2 

The archbishop's court at Lambeth, before which the of- 
fender was now cited, was met by a message from the widow 
of the Black Prince to stay the proceedings, and the sitting 
was effectually broken up by London citizens who burst into 
the hall. At Oxford, the masters of theology pronounced the 
nineteen condemned propositions true, though they sounded 
badly to the ear. A few weeks later, March, 1878, Gregory 
died, and the papal schism broke out. No further notice was 
taken of Gregory's ferocious bulls. Among other things, the 
nineteen propositions affirmed that Christ's followers have no 
right to exact temporal goods by ecclesiastical censures, that 
the excommunications of pope and priest are of no avail if not 
according to the law of Christ, that for adequate reasons the 
king may strip the Church of temporalities and that even a 
pope may be lawfully impeached by laymen. 

With the year 1378 Wyclif s distinctive career as a doctri- 
nal reformer opens. He had defended English rights against 
foreign encroachment. He now assailed, at a number of points, 
the theological structure the Schoolmen and mediaeval popes 
had laboriously reared, and the abuses that had crept into 
the Church. The spectacle of Christendom divided by two 
papal courts, each fulminating anathemas against the other, was 

' Gee and Hardy, p. 106 sqq. * JPVuc., pp. 242-244. 

40. JOHN WYCLIF. 319 

enough to shake confidence in the divine origin of the papacy. 
In sermons, tracts and larger writings, Wyclif brought Scrip- 
ture and common sense to bear. His pen was as keen as a Damas- 
cus blade. Irony and invective, of which he was the master, he 
did not hesitate to use. The directness and pertinency of his ap- 
peals brought them easily within the comprehension of the popu- 
lar mind. He wrote not only in Latin but in English. /His 
conviction was as deep and his passion as fiery as Luther's, but 
on the one hand, Wyclif s style betrays less of the vivid illus- 
trative power of the great German and little of his sympathetic 
warmth, while on the other, less of his unfortunate coarseness. 
As Luther is the most vigorous tract writer that Germany has 
produced, so /Wyclif is the foremost religious pamphleteer 
that has arisen in England ; and the impression made by his 
clear and stinging thrusts may be contrasted in contents and 
audience with the scholarly and finished tracts of the Oxford 
movement led by Pusey, Keble and Newman, the one reach- 
ing the conscience, the other appealing to the aesthetic tastes ; 
the one adapted to break down priestly pretension, the other 
to foster it. 

But the Reformer of the 14th century was more than a 
scholar and publicist. Like John Wesley, he had a prac- 
tical bent of mind, and like him he attempted to provide 
England with a new proclamation of the pure Gospel. To 
counteract the influence of the friars, whom he had begun to 
attack after his return from Bruges, he conceived the idea of 
developing and sending forth a body of itinerant evangelists. 
These " pore priests," as they were called, were taken from 
the list of Oxford graduates, and seem also to have included 
laymen. Of their number and the rules governing them, we 
are in the dark. The movement was begun about 1380, and 
on the one side it associates Wyclif with Gerrit de Groote, 
and on the other with Wesley and with his more recent fel- 
low-countryman, General Booth, of the Salvation Army. 

Although this evangelistic idea took not the form of a per- 
manent organization, the appearance of the pore preachers 
made a sensation. /According to the old chronicler, the dis- 
ciples who gathered around him in Oxford were many and, 

320 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

clad in long russet gowns of one pattern, they went on foot, 
ventilating their master's errors among the people and pub- 
licly setting them forth in sermons. 1 They had the distinc- 
tion of being arraigned by no less a personage than Bishop 
Courtenay "as itinerant, unauthorized preachers who teach er- 
roneous, yea, heretical assertions publicly, not only in churches 
but also in public squares and other profane places, and who 
do this under the guise of great holiness, but without having 
obtained any episcopal or papal authorization." 

It was in 1381, the year before Courtenay said his memora- 
ble words, that Walden reports that Wyclif " began to deter- 
mine matters upon the sacrament of the altar." a To attempt 
an innovation at this crucial point required courage of the 
highest order. In 12 theses he declared the Church's doc- 
trine unscriptural and misleading. For the first time since 
the promulgation of the dogma of transubstantiation by the 
Fourth Lateran was it seriously called in question by a theo- 
logical expert. It was a case of Athanasius standing alone. 
The mendicants waxed violent. Oxford authorities, at the 
instance of the archbishop and bishops, instituted a trial, the 
court consisting of Chancellor Berton and 12 doctors. With- 
out mentioning Wyclif by name, the judges condemned as pes- 
tiferous the assertions that the bread and wine remain after 
consecration, and that Christ's body is present only figuratively 
or tropically in the eucharist. Declaring that the judges had 
not been able to break down his arguments, Wyclif went on 
preaching and lecturing at the university. But in the king's 
council, to which he made appeal, the duke of Lancaster took 
sides against him and forbade him to speak any more on the 
subject at Oxford. This prohibition Wyclif met with a still 
more positive avowal of his views in his Cor^featsion^ which 
closes with the noble words, " I believe that in the end the 
truth will conquer." 

The same year, the Peasants' Revolt broke out, but there 
is no evidence that Wyclif had any more sympathy with 
the movement than Luther had with the Peasants' Rising of 
1525. After the revolt was over, he proposed that Church 

1 Chron. AngL, p. 396 ; also Knighton, II. 184 sq. ' Fa$c., p. 104. 

40. JOHN WYCLIF. 321 

property be given to the upper classes, not to the poor. 1 The 
principles, however, which he enunciated were germs which 
might easily spring up into open rebellion against oppression. 
Had he not written, " There is no moral obligation to pay 
tax or tithe to bad rulers either in Church or state. It is 
permitted to punish or depose them and to reclaim the wealth 
which the clergy have diverted from the poor '' ? One hundred 
and fifty years after this time, Tyndale said, " They said it 
in Wyclif 's day, and the hypocrites say now, that God's Word 
arouseth insurrection." 2 

Courtenay's elevation to the see of Canterbury boded no good 
to the Reformer. In 1382, he convoked the synod which is 
known in English history as the Earthquake synod, from the 
shock felt during its meetings. The primate was supported 
by 9 bishops, and when the earth began to tremble, he showed 
admirable courage by interpreting it as a favorable omen. The 
earth, in trying to rid itself of its winds and humors, was mani- 
festing its sympathy with the body ecclesiastic. 8 Wyclif, who 
was not present, made another use of the occurrence, and de- 
clared that the Lord sent the earthquake " because the friars 
had put heresy upon Christ in the matter of the sacrament, and 
the earth trembled as it did when Christ was damned to bodily 

The council condemned 24 articles, ascribed to the Reformer, 
10 of which were pronounced heretical, and the remainder to 
be against the decisions of the Church. 5 The 4 main sub- 
jects condemned as heresy were that Christ is not corporally 
present in the sacrament, that oral confession is not necessary 
for a soul prepared to die, that after Urban VI. 's death the Eng- 
lish Church should acknowledge no pope but, like the Greeks, 
govern itself, and that it is contrary to Scripture for ecclesias- 
tics to hold temporal possessions. Courtenay followed up 
the synod's decisions by summoning Rygge, then chancellor 

i See Trevelyan, p. 199 ; Kriehn, pp. 264-286, 458-485. 
1 Pref . to Expos, of St. John, p. 226, Parker Soc. ed. 
Sicut in terras visceribus includuntur air et spiritus infecti et ingrediuntur 
in terra motum, Fasc., p. 272. 

4 Select Sngl. Works, III. 603. Gee and Hardy, pp. 108-110. 

322 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

of Oxford, to suppress the heretical teachings and teachers. 
Ignoring the summons, Rygge appointed Repyngdon, another 
of Wyclif s supporters, to preach, and when Peter Stokys, 
"a prof essor of the sacred page," armed with a letter from the 
archbishop, attempted to silence him, the students and tutors 
at Oxford threatened the Carmelite with their drawn swords. 

But Courtenay would permit no trifling and, summoning 
Rygge and the proctors to Lambeth, made them promise on 
their knees to take the action indicated. Parliament sup- 
ported the primate. The new preaching was suppressed, but 
Wyclif stood undaunted. He sent a Complaint of 4 articles to 
the king and parliament, in which he pleaded for the supremacy 
of English law in matters of ecclesiastical property, for the 
liberty for the friars to abandon the rules of their orders and 
follow the rule of Christ, and for the view that on the Lord's 
table the real bread and wine are present, and not merely the 
accidents. 1 

The court was no longer ready to support the Reformer, 
and Richard II. sent peremptory orders to Rygge to suppress 
the new teachings. Courtenay himself went to Oxford, and 
there is some authority for the view that Wyclif again met 
the prelate face to face at St. Frideswides. Rigid inquisi- 
tion was made for copies of the condemned teacher's writings 
and those of Hereford. Wyclif was inhibited from preaching, 
and retired to his rectory at Lutterworth. Hereford, Repyng- 
don, Aston and Bedeman, his supporters, recanted. The whole 
party received a staggering blow and with it liberty of teaching 
at Oxford. 2 

Confined to Lutterworth, Wyclif continued his labors on the 
translation of the Bible, and sent forth polemic tracts, includ- 
ing the Cruciata? a vigorous condemnation of the crusade which 
the bishop of Norwich, Henry de Spenser, was preparing in 
support of Urban VI. against the Avignon pope, Clement VII. 
The warlike prelate had already shown his military gifts dur- 
ing the Peasants' Uprising. Urban had promised plenary 

1 Select Engl Writings, III. 607-523. 

* Jfac., pp. 272-833. See Shirley, p. xliv. 

Latin Works, II. 677 sqq. 

40. JOHN WYCLIF. 328 

indulgence for a year to all joining the army. Mass was said 
and sermons preached in the churches of England, and large 
sums collected for the enterprise. The indulgence extended 
to the dead as well as to the living. Wyclif declared the cru- 
sade an expedition for worldly mastery, and pronounced the 
indulgence " an abomination of desolation in the holy place." 
Spenser's army reached the Continent, but the expedition was 
a failure. The most important of Wyclif s theological trea- 
tises, the Trialogus, was written in this period. It lays down 
the principle that, where the Bible and the Church do not agree, 
we must obey the Bible, and, where conscience and human au- 
thority are in conflict, we must follow conscience. 1 

Two years before his death, Wyclif received a paralytic stroke 
which maimed but did not completely disable him. It is pos- 
sible that he received a citation to appear before the pope. With 
unabated rigor of conviction, he replied to the supreme pontiff 
that of all men he was most under obligation to obey the law 
of Christ, that Christ was of all men the most poor, and sub- 
ject to mundane authority. No Christian man has a right to 
follow Peter, Paul or any of the saints except as they imitated 
Christ. The pope should renounce all worldly authority and 
compel his clergy to do the same. He then asserted that, if 
in these views he was found to err, he was willing to be cor- 
rected, even by death. If it were in his power to do anything 
to advance these views by his presence in Rome, he would will- 
ingly go thither. But God had put an obstacle in his way, and 
had taught him to obey Him rather than man. He closed with 
the prayer that God might incline Urban to imitate Christ in 
his life and teach his clergy to do the same. 

While saying mass in his church, he was struck again with 
paralysis, and passed away two or three days after, Dec. 29, 
1384, "having lit a fire which shall never be put out." 2 

1 Fasc., p. 841 eq. ; Lechler-Lorimer, p. 417, deny the citation. The reply 
is hardly what we might have expected from Wyclif, confining itself, as it does, 
rather curtly to the question of the pope's authority and manner of life. Luther* s 
last treatment of the pope, Der Papst der Ende-Chrtet und Wider Christ, is not 
a full parallel. Wyclif was independent, not coarse. 

1 The most credible narrative preserved of Wyclif s death comes from John 
Horn, 'the Reformer's assistant for two yean, and was written down by Dr. 

824 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Fuller, writing of his death, exclaims, "Admirable that a hare, 
so often hunted with so many packs of dogs, should die quietly 
sitting in his form." 

Wyclif was spare, and probably never of robust health, but he 
was not an ascetic. He was fond of a good meal. In temper 
he was quick, in mind clear, in moral character unblemished. 
Towards his enemies he was sharp, but never coarse or ribald. 
William Thorpe, a young contemporary standing in the court 
of Archbishop Arundel, bore testimony that "he was ema- 
ciated in body and well-nigh destitute of strength, and in con- 
duct most innocent. Very many of the chief men of England 
conferred with him, loved him dearly, wrote down his say- 
ings and followed his manner of life." l 

The prevailing sentiment of the hierarchy was given by 
Walsingham, chronicler of St. Albans, who characterized the 
Reformer in these words : " On the feast of the passion of St. 
Thomas of Canterbury, John de Wyclif, that instrument of the 
devil, that enemy of the Church, that author of confusion to the 
common people, that image of hypocrites, that idol of heretics, 
that author of schism, that sower of hatred, that coiner of lies, 
being struck with the horrible judgment of God, was smitten 
with palsy and continued to live till St. Sylvester's Day, on 
which he breathed out his malicious spirit into the abodes of 

The dead was not left in peace. By the decree of Arundel, 
Wyclif 's writings were suppressed, and it was so effective that 
Caxton and the first English printers issued no one of them 
from the press. The Lateran decree of February, 1413, ordered 
his books burnt, and the Council of Constance, from whose 

Thomas Gascoigne upon Horn's sworn statement. Walden twice makes the 
charge that disappointment at not being appointed bishop of Worcester started 
Wyclif on the path of heresy, but there is no other authority for the story, which 
is inherently improbable. Lies were also invented against the memories of 
Luther, Calvin and Knoz, which the respectable Catholic historians set aside. 
1 Bale, in his account of the Examination of Thorpe, Parker Soc. ed., I. 
80-81. The biographies of Lewis, Vaughan, Lorimer and Sergeant give por- 
traits of Wyclif. The oldest, according to Sergeant, pp. 16-21, is taken from 
Bale's Summary, 1648. There is a resemblance in all the portraits, which rep- 
resent the Reformer clothed in Oxford gown and cap, with long beard, open 
face, clear, large eye, prominent nose and cheek bones and pale complexion. 


members, such as Gerson and D'Ailly, we might have expected 
tolerant treatment, formally condemned his memory and or- 
dered his bones exhumed from their resting-place and " cast 
at a distance from the sepulchre of the church." The holy 
synod, so ran the decree, "declares said John Wyclif to have 
been a notorious heretic, and excom municates him and condemns 
his memory as one who died an obstinate heretic." l In 1429, 
at the summons of Martin IV., the decree was carried out by 
Flemmyng, bishop of Lincoln. 

The words of Fuller, describing the execution of the decree 
of Constance, have engraven themselves on the page of English 
history. " They burnt his bones to ashes and cast them into 
Swift, a neighboring brook running hard by. Thus this brook 
hath conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn 
into the narrow seas, they into the main ocean. And thus the 
ashes of Wicliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is 
dispersed the world over." 

In the popular judgment of the English people, John Wyclif, 
in company with John Latimerand John Wesley, probably rep- 
resents more fully than any other English religious leader, in- 
dependence of thought, devotion to conscience, solid religious 
common sense, and the sound exposition of the Gospel. In the 
history of the intellectual and moral progress of his people, he 
was the leading Englishman of the Middle Ages. 2 

41. Wyclif a Teachings. 

Wyclif f s teachings lie plainly upon the surface of his many 
writings. In each one of the eminent roles he played, as school- 

1 A part of the sentence runs, Sancta synodus declarat diffinU et sentential 
eumdem J. Wicleff fuisse notorium hasreticum pertinacem et in haresi de- 
cessisse. . . ordinat corpus etejusossa, si abaliisfldelibuscorporibusdiscernt 
possint, exhumari etprocul ab ecclesiae sepultura jactart. Mansi, XXVII. 635. 

2 Green, in his Hist, of the EngL People, passes a notable encomium on the 
" first Reformer/' and the late Prof. Bigg, Wayside Sketches, p. 131, asserts 
" that his beliefs are in the main those of the great majority of Englishmen 
to-day, and this is a high proof of the Justice, the clearness and the sincerity 
of his thoughts. 1 ' The Catholic historian of England, Lingard, IV. 102, after 
speaking of Wyclif s intellectual perversion, refers to him, u as that extraor- 
dinary man who, exemplary in his morals, declaimed against vice with the 
freedom and severity of an Apostle. 11 

326 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

man, political reformer, preacher, innovator in theology and 
translator of the Bible, he wrote extensively. His views show 
progress in the direction of opposition to the mediaeval errors 
and abuses. Driven by attacks, he detected errors which, at 
the outset, he did not clearly discern. But, above all, his 
study of the Scriptures forced upon him a system which was 
in contradiction to the distinctively mediaeval system of the- 
ology. His language in controversy was so vigorous that it 
requires an unusual effort to suppress the impulse to quote at 
great length. 

Clear as Wyclif's statements always are, some of his works 
are drawn out by much repetition. Nor does he always move 
in a straight line, but digresses to this side and to that, taking 
occasion to discuss at length subjects cognate to the main 
matter he has in hand. This habit often makes the reading 
of his larger works a wearisome task. Nevertheless, the au- 
thor always brings the reader back from his digression or, to 
use a modern expression, never leaves him sidetracked. 

I. As A SCHOOLMAN. Wyclif was beyond dispute the 
most eminent scholar who taught for any length of time at 
Oxford since Grosseteste, whom he often quotes. 1 He was 
read in Chrysostom, Augustine, Jerome and other Latin 
Fathers, as well as in the mediaeval theologians from Anselin 
to Duns Scotus, Bradwardine, Fitzralph and Henry of Ghent. 
His quotations are many, but with increasing emphasis, as the 
years went on, he made his final appeal to the Scriptures. He 
was a moderate realist and ascribed to nominalism all theo- 
logical error. He seems to have endeavored to shun the deter- 
minism of Bradwardine, and declared that the doctrine of 
necessity does not do away with the freedom of the will, which 
is so free that it cannot be compelled. Necessity compels the 
creature to will, that is, to exercise his freedom, but at that 
point he is left free to choose. 2 

1 Op. evang., p. 17, etc., De dom. div., p. 215, etc., De dom. civ., 384 sqq., 
where the case of Frederick of Lavagna is related at length. 

2 Hergenrother, II. 881, speaks of Wyclif a system as pantheistic realism 
and fatalism, D. Lehrsystem des Wicliftot krasaer, pantheistischer Realismus, 
Fataliwwt u. Predtstianismus. 


II. As A PATRIOT. In this role the Oxford teacher took 
an attitude the very reverse of the attitude assumed by An- 
selm and Thomas a Becket, who made the English Church a 
servant to the pope's will in all things. For loyalty to the 
Hildebrandian theocracy, Anselm was willing to suffer banish- 
ment and a Becket suffered death. In Wyclif, the mutter- 
ings of the nation, which had been heard against the foreign 
regime from the days of William the Conqueror, and especially 
since King John's reign, found a stanch and uncompromising 
mouthpiece. Against the whole system of foreign jurisdiction 
he raised his voice, as also against the Church's claim to hold 
lands, except as it acknowledged the rights of the state. He 
also opposed the tenure of secular offices by the clergy and, 
when Archbishop Sudbury was murdered, declared that he 
died in sin because he was holding the office of chancellor. 

Wyclif s views on government in Church and state are chiefly 
set forth in the works on Civil and Divine Lordship De do- 
minio divino, and De dominio civili and in his Dialogus. 1 The 
Divine Lordship discusses the title by which men hold prop- 
erty and exercise government, and sets forth the distinction be- 
tween sovereignty and stewardship. Lordship is not properly 
proprietary. It is stewardship. Christ did not desire to rule 
as a tenant with absolute rights, but in the way of communicat- 
ing to others. 2 As to his manhood, he was the most perfect of 

The Civil Lordship opens by declaring that no one in mortal 
sin has a right to lordship, and that every one in the state of 
grace has a real lordship over the whole universe. All Chris- 
tians are reciprocally lords and servants. The pope, or an ec- 
clesiastical body abusing the property committed to them, may 
be deprived of it by the state. Proprietary right is limited by 
proper use. Tithes are an expedient to enable the priesthood 

1 The De dom. civ. and the De dom. div., ed. for the Wyclif Soc. by R. L. 
Poole, London, 1886, 1800. See Poole's Prefaces and his essay on Wyclif's 
Doctrine of Lordship in his Illustrations, etc., pp. 282-311. The Dialogus, sive 
speculum ecclesice militantis, ed. by A. W. Pollard, 1886. 

2 Salvator noster noluit esse proprietarie dominant, sed communicative, 
p. 204. 

828 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

to perform its mission. The New Testament does not make 
them a rule. 

From the last portion of the first book of the Civil Lordship, 
Gregory XI. drew most of the articles for which Wyclif had 
to stand trial. Here is found the basis for the charge ascrib- 
ing to him the famous statement that God ought to obey the 
devil. By this was meant nothing more than that the juris- 
diction of every lawful proprietor should be recognized. 

III. As A PREACHER. Whether we regard Wyclif s con- 
stant activity in the pulpit, or the impression his sermons made, 
he must be pronounced by far the most notable of English 
preachers prior to the Reformation. 1 294 of his English ser- 
mons and 224 of his Latin sermons have been preserved. To 
these discourses must be added his English expositions of the 
Lord's prayer, the songs of the Bible, the seven deadly sins 
and other subjects. With rare exceptions, the sermons are 
based upon passages of the New Testament. 

The style of the English discourses is simple and direct. 
No more plainly did Luther preach against ecclesiastical 
abuses than did the English Reformer. On every page are 
joined with practical religious exposition stirring passages re- 
buking the pope and worldly prelates. They are denounced as 
anti-christ and the servants of the devil the fiend as they 
turn away from the true work of pasturing Christ's flock for 
worldly gain and enjoyment. The preacher condemns the 
false teachings which are nowhere taught in the Scriptures, 
such as pilgrimages and indulgences. Sometimes Wyclif 
seems to be inconsistent with himself, now making light of 
fasting, now asserting that the Apostles commended it ; now 
disparaging prayers for the dead, now affirming purgatory. 
With special severity do his sermons strike at the friars who 
preach out of avarice and neglect to expose the sins of their 
hearers. No one is more idle than the rich friars, who have 
nothing but contempt for the poor. Again and again in these 
sermons, as in his other works, he urges that the goods of the 

1 Loserth, Introd. to Lat. sermones, II. f p. xx, pronounces their effect ex- 
traordinary. The Engl. sermons have been ed. by Arnold, Select Engl. Works, 
vote. I, II, and the Lat. sermons by Loserth, in 4 vols. 


friars be seized and given to the needy classes. Wyclif, the 
preacher, was always the bold champion of the layman's rights. 

His work, The Pastoral Office, which is devoted to the du- 
ties of the faithful minister, and his sermons lay stress upon 
preaching as the minister's proper duty. Preaching he de- 
clared the "highest service," even as Christ occupied himself 
most in that work. And if bishops, on whom the obligation 
to preach more especially rests, preach not, but are content to 
have true priests preach in their stead, they are as those that 
murder Jesus. The same authority which gave to priests 
the privilege of celebrating the sacrament of the altar binds 
them to preach. Yea, the preaching of the Word is a more 
precious occupation than the ministration of the sacraments. 1 

When the Gospel was preached, as in Apostolic times, the 
Church grew. Above all things, close attention should be 
given to Christ's words, whose authority is superior to all the 
rites and commandments of pope and friars. Again and again 
^ Wyclif sets forth the ideal minister, as in the following de- 

" A priest should live holily, in prayer, in desires and thought, in godly 
conversation and honest teaching, having God's commandments and His 
Gospel ever on his lips. And let his deeds be so righteous that no man 
may be able with cause to find fault with them, and so open his acts that 
he may be a true book to all sinful and wicked men to serve God. For 
the example of a good life stirreth men more than true preaching with 
only the naked word." 

The priest's chief work is to render a substitute for Christ's 
miracles by converting himself and his neighbor to God's 
law. 2 The Sermon on the Mount, Wyclif pronounced sufficient 
for the guidance of human life apart from any of the require- 
ments and traditions of men. 

IV. As A DOCTRINAL REFORMER. Wyclif s later writings 
teem with denials of the doctrinal tenets of his age and indict- 

1 JSvangelizatto verbi est preciosior quam ministratio alicujus ecclesiastici 
sacramenti, Op. evang., I. 375. Predicatio verbi Dei est solemnior quam 
confectio sacramenti, De sac. cr., II. 156. See also Arnold, EngL Works, III. 
163 sq., 464 ; Sertn. Lat,, II. 115 ; De scr. sac., II. 138. 

9 Debemus loco miraculorum Christi no* et proximo* ad legem Dei conver- 
tere. De ver., I. 90 ; Op. evang., I. 368. 

330 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

ments against ecclesiastical abuses. There could be no doubt 
of his meaning. Beginning with the 19 errors Gregory XI. 
was able to discern, the list grew as the years went on. The 
Council of Constance gave 45, Netter of Walden, fourscore, 
and the Bohemian John Liicke, an Oxford doctor of divinity, 
266. Cochlseus, in writing against the Hussites, went beyond 
all former computations and ascribed to Wyclif the plump sum 
of 303 heresies, surely enough to have forever covered the Re- 
former's memory with obloquy. Fuller suggests as the reason 
for these variations that some lists included only the Reformer's 
primitive tenets or breeders, and others reckoned all the younger 
fry of consequence derived from them. 

The first three articles adduced by the Council of Constance l 
had respect to the Lord's Supper, and charged Wyclif with 
holding that the substance of the bread remains unchanged 
after the consecration, that Christ is not in the sacrament of 
the altar in a real sense, and the accidents of a thing cannot 
remain after its substance is changed. The 4th article ac- 
cuses him with declaring that the acts of bishop or priest in 
baptizing, ordaining and consecrating are void if the celebrant 
be in a state of mortal sin. Then follow charges of other al- 
leged heresies, such as that after Urban VI. the papacy should 
be abolished, the clergy should hold no temporal possessions, 
the friars should gain their living by manual toil and not 
by begging, Sylvester and Constantine erred in endowing the 
Church, the papal elections by the cardinals were an invention 
of the devil, it is not necessary to salvation that one believe 
the Roman church to be supreme amongst the churches and 
that all the religious orders were introduced by the devil. 

The most of the 45 propositions represent Wyclif's views 
with precision. They lie on the surface of his later writings, 
but they do not exhaust his dissent from the teachings and 
practice of his time. His assault may be summarized under 
five heads : the nature of the Church, the papacy, the priest- 
hood, the doctrine of transubstantiation and the use of the 

The Church was defined in the Civil Lordship to be the 
1 See Mansi, XX VII. , 632-636, and Mirbt, p. 157 aq. 


body of the elect, living, dead and not yet born, whose head 
is Christ. Scarcely a writing has come down to us from 
Wyclif s pen in which he does not treat the subject, and in 
his special treatise on the Church, written probably in 1378, 
it is defined more briefly as the body of all the elect con- 
gregatio omnium predestinatorum. Of this body, Christ alone 
is the head. The pope is the head of a local church. Stress 
is laid upon the divine decree as determining who are the pre- 
destinate and who the reprobate. 1 

Some persons, he said, in speaking of " Holy Church, un- 
derstand thereby prelates and priests, monks and canons and 
friars and all that have the tonsure, alle men that han crownes, 
though they live ever so accursedly in defiance of God's 
law." But so far from this being true, all popes, cardinals and 
priests are not among the saved. On the contrary, not even a 
pope can tell assuredly that he is predestinate. This knows no 
one on earth. The pope may be a prescitus, a reprobate. Such 
popes there have been, and it is blasphemy for cardinals and 
pontiffs to think that their election to office of itself constitutes 
a title to the primacy of the Church. The curia is a nest of here- 
tics if its members do not follow Christ, a fountain of poison, 
the abomination of desolation spoken of in the sacred page. 
Gregory XI. Wyclif called a terrible devil horrendusdiabolus. 
God in His mercy had put him to death and dispersed his con- 
federates, whose crimes Urban VI. had revealed. 2 

Though the English Reformer never used the terms visible 
and invisible Church, he made the distinction. The Church 
militant, he said, commenting on John 10 : 26, is a mixed body. 
The Apostles took two kinds of fishes, some of which remained 
in the net and some broke away. So in the Church some are 
ordained to bliss and some to pain, even though they live godly 
for a while. 8 It is significant that in his English writings 
Wyclif uses the term Christen men Christian men in- 
stead of the term the faithful. 

1 Dt dom. civ., I. 858. Ecclesia cath. five apost. est universitas predcstinato- 
rum. De eccles., ed. by Loserth, pp. 2, 5, 31, 94, Engl. Works, III. 839, 447, 
etc. De cedes., 5, 28 sq., 63, 88, 89, 355, 858, 860. 

8 Engl. Works., I. 50. 

882 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

As for the papacy, no one has used more stinging words against 
individual popes as well as against the papacy as an institution 
than did Wyclif. In the treatises of his last years and in his 
sermons, the pope is stigmatized as anti-christ. His very last 
work, on which he was engaged when death overtook him, bore 
the title, Anti-christ, meaning the pope. He went so far as to 
call him the head- vicar of the fiend. l He saw in the papacy the 
revelation of the man of sin. The office is wholly poisonous 
totumpapale officium venenosum. He heaped ridicule upon 
the address " most holie fadir." The pope is neither necessary 
to the Church nor is he infallible. If both popes and all their 
cardinals were cast into hell, believers could be saved as well 
without them. They were created not by Christ but by the 
devil. The pope has no exclusive right to declare what the 
Scriptures teach, or proclaim what is the supreme law. His ab- 
solutions are of no avail unless Christ has absolved before. Popes 
have no more right to excommunicate than devils have to curse. 
Many of them are damned multipap&sunt dampnati. Strong 
as such assertions are, it is probable that Wyclif did not mean 
to cast aside the papacy altogether. But again and again the 
principle is stated that the Apostolic see is to be obeyed only so 
far as it follows Christ's law. 2 

As for the interpretation of Matthew 16 : 18, Wyclif took 
the view that " the rock " stands for Peter and every true Chris- 
tian. The keys of the kingdom of heaven are not metal keys, 
as popularly supposed, but spiritual power, and they were com- 
mitted not only to Peter, but to all the saints, " for alle men 

1 The condemnatory epithets and characterizations are found in the Engl. 
Works, ed. by Matthew, Depapa, pp. 468-487, and The Church andher Members, 
and The Schism of the Bom. Pontiffs, Arnold's ed., III. 262 sqq., 340 sqq., 
the Trialogus, Dialogue, the Latin Sermons, vol. II., and especially the Opus 
evangehcum, parts of which went under the name Christ and his Adversary, 
Antichrist. See Loserth's introductions to Lat. Serm., II. p. ivsq., and Op. 
evang., vol. II. ; also his art. Wiclifs Lehre, vom wahren, undfalschen Papst- 
tum, Hist. Ztschrift, 1907, and his ed. otiheDepotestatepapce. In these last 
works Loserth presents the somewhat modified view that when Wyclif in- 
veighed against the papacy it was only as it was abused. The De potestate 
was written perhaps in 1379. His later works show an increased severity. 

a Lat. Serm., IV. 95 ; De dom. civ., 866-894 ; De ver. scr., II. 66 sqq. ; Dial., 
p. 26 ; Op. evang., I. 38, 92, 98, 882, 414, II. 182, IIL 187 ; Engl. Works, II. 
229 sq., etc. 


that comen to hevene have these keies of God. " 1 Towards the 
pope's pretension to political functions, Wyclif was, if possible, 
more unsparing. Christ paid tribute to Caesar. So should 
the pope. His deposition of kings is the tyranny of the devil. 
By disregarding Peter's injunction not to lord it over God's 
heritage, but to feed the flock, he and all his sect tot a secta 
prove themselves hardened heretics. 

Constantine's donation, the Reformer pronounced the begin- 
ning of all evils in the Church. The emperor was put up to 
it by the devil. It was his new trick to have the Church en- 
dowed. 2 Chapter after chapter of the treatise on the Church 
calls upon the pope, prelates and priests to return to the exer- 
cise of spiritual functions. They had become the prelates and 
priests of Caesar. As the Church left Christ to follow Caesar, 
so now it should abandon Caesar for Christ. As for kissing 
the pope's toe, there is no foundation for it in Scripture or 

The pope's practice of getting money by tribute and taxa- 
tion calls forth biting invective. It was the custom, Wyclif 
said, to solemnly curse in the parish churches all who clipped 
the king's coins and cut men's purses. From this it would 
seem, he continued, 

that the proud and worldly priest of Rome and all his advisers were the 
most cursed of clippers and cut-purses, cursed of clipperis and purse-ker- 
veris, for they drew out of England poor men's livelihoods and many thou- 
sands of marks of the king's money, and this they did for spiritual favors. 
If the realm had a huge hill of gold, it would soon all be spent by this 
proud and worldly priest-collector. Of all men, Christ was the most poor, 
both in spirit and in goods, and put from him all manner of worldly lord- 
ship. The pope should leave his authority to worldly lords, and speedily 
advise his clergy to do the same. I take it, as a matter of faith, that no 
man should follow the pope, nor even any of the saints in heaven, except 
as they follow Christ. 8 

The priests and friars formed another subject of Wyclif's 
vigorous attack. Clerics who follow Christ are true priests and 

1 Op. cvanff., II. 105 sq. ; Engl. Works, I. 360 sq. 

2 De ver.j I. 267 ; Engl Works, III. 341 sq. ; De Eccles., 189, 365 sqq. ; Op. 
Evang., III. 188. 

8 Engl. Works, III. 320. Letter to Urban VI., Fasc. ziz., p. 341 ; Engl. 
Works, III. 604-606. 

334 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

none other. The efficacy of their acts of absolution of sins 
depends upon their own previous absolution by Christ. The 
priest's function is to show forgiveness, already pronounced by 
God, not to impart it. It was, he affirmed, a strange and mar- 
vellous thing that prelates and curates should "curse so faste," 
when Christ said we should bless rather than reprove. A sen- 
tence of excommunication is worse than murder. 

The rule of auricular confession Wyclif also disparaged. 
True contrition of heart is sufficient for the removal of sins. 
In Christ's time confession of man to man was not required. 
In his own day, he said, " shrift to God is put behind; but privy 
(private) shrift, a new-found thing, is authorized as needful for 
the soul's health." He set forth the dangers of the confes- 
sional, such as the unchastity of priests. He also spoke of the 
evils of pilgrimages when women and men going together 
promiscuously were in temptation of great " lecherie." l Cleri- 
cal celibacy, a subject the Reformer seldom touched upon, he 
declared, when enforced, is against Scripture, and as under the 
old law priests were allowed to marry, so under the new the 
practice is never forbidden, but rather approved. 

Straight truth-telling never had a warmer champion than 
Wyclif. Addressing the clergy, he devotes nearly a hundred 
pages of his Truth of Scripture to an elaboration of this prin- 
ciple. Not even the most trifling sin is permissible as a means 
of averting a greater evil, either for oneself or one's neighbor. 
Under no circumstances does a good intention justify a false- 
hood. The pope himself has no right to tolerate or practice 
misrepresentation to advance a good cause. To accomplish a 
good end, the priest dare not even make a false appeal to fear. 
All lying is of itself sin, and no dispensation can change its 
character. 2 

The friars called forth the Reformer's keenest thrusts, and 
these increased in sharpness as he neared the end of his life. 

1 His De eucharistia et panitentia sive de confessione elaborates this sub- 
ject. See also Engl. Works, I. 80, III. 141, 348, 461. 

2 De eccles. , p. 162 ; De ver. scr. , II. 1-99. Omne mendatium est per Be peo- 
catum sed nulla circumstantia potest recttycare, ut peccatum sit non pecca- 
tum, De wr., II. 61. 


Quotations, bearing on their vices, would fill a large volume. 
Entire treatises against their heresies and practices issued from 
his pen. They were slavish agents of the pope's will ; they 
spread false views of the eucharist ; they made merchandise of 
indulgences and letters of fraternity which pretended to give 
the purchasers a share in their own good deeds here and at the 
final accounting. Their lips were full of lies and their hands of 
blood. They entered houses and led women astray ; they lived 
in idleness ; they devoured England. 1 

The Reformer had also a strong word to say on the delusion 
of the contemplative life as usually practised. It was the guile 
of Satan that led men to imagine their fancies and dreamings 
were religious contemplation and to make them an excuse for 
sloth. John the Baptist and Christ both left the desert to live 
among men. He also went so far as to demand that monks be 
granted the privilege of renouncing the monkish rule for some 
other condition where they might be useful. 2 

The four mendicant orders, the Carmelites, Augustinians, 
Jacobites or Dominicans, and Minorites or Franciscans gave 
their first letters to the word Cairn, showing their descent from 
the first murderer. Their convents, Wyclif called Cain's cas- 
tles. His relentless indignation denounced them as the tail of 
the dragon, ravening wolves, the sons of Satan, the emissaries 
of anti-christ and Luciferians and pronounced them worse 
than Herod, Saul arid Judas. The friars repeat that Christ 
begged water at the well. It were to their praise if they begged 
water and nothing else. 8 

With the lighter hand of ridicule, Chaucer also held up the 
mendicants for indictment. In the Prologue to his Canterbury 
Tales he represents the friar as an 

. . . easy man to yeve penaunce, 
Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce 
For unto a powre order for to give 
Is signe that a man is well y-shrive. 

1 Engl. Works, III. 420 sqq. ; Op. evang., II. 40; Lat. serm., TV. 62, 121, etc. 

a See the tract Of Feigned Contemplative Life in Matthew, pp. 187, 196 ; 
De eccles., p. 880; Lat. Serm., II. 112. 

8 Lat. serm., II. 84; Trial, IV. 38 ; Engl. Works, III. 348; Dial., pp. 13, 66, 

336 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

His wallet lay biforn him in his lappe 
Bretful of pardoim come from Rome all hoot, 
A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot 
Ne was ther swich another pardonour 
For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer [pillow] 
Which that, he seyde, was our Lady's veyl : 
And in a glas he hadde a pigges bones. . 

SKEAT'B ed., 4 : 7, 21. 

If it required boldness to attack the powerful body of the 
monks, it required equal boldness to attack the mediaeval dogma 
of transubstantiation. Wyclif himself called it a doctrine of 
the moderns and of the recentChurch novella ecclesia. In his 
treatise on the eucharist, he praised God that he had been de- 
livered from its laughable and scandalous errors. 1 The dogma of 
the transmutation of the elements he pronounced idolatry, a 
lying fable. His own view is that of the spiritual presence. 
Christ's body, so far as its dimensions are concerned, is in 
heaven. It is efficaciously or virtually in the host as in a sym- 
bol. 2 This symbol " represents " vicarius est the body. 

Neither by way of impanation nor of identification, much 
less by way of transmutation, is the body in the host. Christ 
is in the bread as a king is in all parts of his dominions and as 
the soul is in the body. In the breaking of the bread, the body 
is no more broken than the sunbeam is broken when a piece of 
glass is shattered : Christ is there sacramentally, spiritually, 
efficiently aacramentaliter, tpiritualiter et virtualiter. Tran- 
substantiation is the greatest of all heresies and subversive of 
logic, grammar and all natural science. 8 

The famous controversy as to whether a mouse, partaking 
of the sacramental elements, really partakes of Christ's body is 
discussed in the first pages of the treatise on the eucharist. 
Wyclif pronounces the primary assumption false, for Christ is 
not there in a corporal manner. An animal, in eating a man, 

1 Ab isto acandaloso et derisibili errore de quidditate hujus sacramenti, pp. 
52, 199. 

3 Corpus Chr. eat dimensionaliter in cceZo et virtualiter in hostia ut in signo. 
De euchar., pp. 271, 303. Walden, Fasc. ziz., rightly represents Wyclif as hold- 
ing that " the host Is neither Christ nor any part of Christ, but the effectual 
sign of him." De euchar., p. 11; Trial., pp. 248, 261. 


does not eat his soul. The opinion that the priest actually breaks 
Christ's body and so breaks his neck, arms and other mem- 
bers, is a shocking error. What could be more shocking, 
horribiliu*, he says, than that the priest should daily make 
and consecrate the Lord's body, and what more shocking than 
to be obliged to eat Christ's very flesh and drink his very blood. 
Yea, what could be thought of more shocking than that Christ's 
body may be burned or eructated, or that the priest carries God 
in bodily form on the tips of his fingers. The words of insti- 
tution are to be taken in a figurative sense. In a similar man- 
ner, the Lord spoke of himself as the seed and of the world as 
the field, and called John, Elijah, not meaning that the two were 
one person. In saying, I am the vine, he meant that the vine 
is a symbol of himself. 

The impossibility of the miracle of elemental transmutation, 
Wyclif based on the philosophical principle that the substance 
of a thing cannot be separated from its accidents. If accidents 
can exist by themselves, then it is impossible to tell what a 
thing is or whether it exists at all. Transubstantiation would 
logically demand transaccidentation, an expression the Eng- 
lish Reformer used before Luther. The theory that the acci- 
dents remain while the substance is changed, he pronounced 
" grounded neither in holy writt ne reson ne wit but only 
taughte by newe hypocritis and cursed heretikis that magny- 
fyen there own fantasies and dremes." 1 

Another proof of Wyclif 's freedom of mind was his assertion 
that the Roman Church, in celebrating the sacrament, has no 
right to make a precise form of words obligatory, as the words 
of institution differ in the different accounts of the New Tes- 
tament. As for the profitable partaking of the elements, he 
declared that the physical eating profits nothing except the soul 
be fed with love. Announcing it as his expectation that he 
would be set upon for his views, he closed his notable treatise 
on the eucharist with the words, The truth of reason will pre- 
vail over all things. 

Super omnia vincit veritas rationis. 
1 De euch., pp. 78, 81, 132; Engl. Works, III. 620. 

888 THE MIDDLE AGES; A.D. 1294-1617. 

In these denials of the erroneous system of the mediaeval 
Church at its vital points, Wyclif was far in advance of his 
own age and anticipated the views of the Protestant Reformers. 

42. Wyclif and the Scriptures. 

Wyclif s chief service for his people, next to the legacy of 
his own personality, was his assertion of the supreme author- 
ity of the Bible for clergy and laymen alike and his gift to 
them of the Bible in their own tongue. His statements, setting 
forth the Scriptures as the clear and sufficient manual of salva- 
tion and insisting that the literal sense gives their plain mean- 
ing, were as positive and unmistakable as any made by Luther. 
In his treatise on the value and authority of the Scriptures, 
with 1000 printed pages, 1 more is said about the Bible as 
the Church's appointed guide-book than was said by all the 
mediaeval theologians together. And none of the Schoolmen, 
from Anselm and Abaelard to Thomas Aquinas and Duns 
Scotus, exalted it to such a position of preeminence as did he. 
With one accord they limited its authority by coordinating 
with its contents tradition, that is, the teachings of the Church. 
This man, with unexcelled precision and cogency, affirmed its 
final jurisdiction, as the law of God, above all authorities, pa- 
pal, decretist or patristic. What Wyclif asserts in this spe- 
cial treatise, he said over again in almost every one of his 
works, English and Latin. If possible, he grew more em- 
phatic as his last years went on, and his Opus evangelicum^ 
probably his very last writing, abounds in the most positive 
statements language is capable of. 

To give the briefest outline of the Truth of Scripture will 
be to state in advance the positions of the Protestant Reform- 
ers in regard to the Bible as the rule of faith and morals. To 
Wyclif the Scriptures are the authority for every Catholic tenet. 

1 De veritate Scripturce, ed. by Buddensieg, with Introd., 3 vols., Leip., 1904. 
The editor, I. p. xci, gives the date as 1387, 1388. Wyclif starts out by quot- 
ing Augustine at length, I. 6-16. The treatise contains extensive digressions, 
as on the two natures of Christ, 1. 170 sqq., the salutation of Mary, I. 282 sqq., 
lying, II. 1-99, Mohammedanism, II. 248*266, the functions of prelates and 
priests, III. 1-104, etc. 


They are the Law of Christ, the Law of God, the Word of God, 
the Book of Life liber vitce. They are the immaculate law 
of the Lord, most true, most complete and most wholesome. 1 
All things necessary to belief for salvation are found in them. 
They are the Catholic faith, the Christian faith, fides chris- 
tiana, the primal rule of human perfection, the primal foun- 
dation of the Christian proclamation. 

This book is the whole truth which every Christian should 
study. 2 It is the measure and standard of all logic. Logic, as 
in Oxford, changes very frequently, yea, every twenty years, 
but the Scriptures are yea, yea and nay, nay. They never 
change. They stand to eternity. 3 All logic, all law, all phi- 
losophy and all ethic are in them. As for the philosophy of the 
pagan world, whatever it offers that is in accord with the 
Scriptures is true. The religious philosophy which the Chris- 
tian learns from Aristotle he learns because it was taught by 
the authors of Scripture. 4 The Greek thinker made mistakes, 
as when he asserted that creation is eternal. In several places 
Wyclif confesses that he himself had at one time been led 
astray by logic and the desire to win fame, but was thankful to 
God that he had been converted to the full acceptance of the 
Scriptures as they are and to find in them all logic. 

All through this treatise, and in other works, Wyclif con- 
tends against those who pronounced the sacred writings irra- 
tional or blasphemous or abounding in errors and plain false- 
hoods. Such detractors he labelled modern or recent doctors 
modernii novelli doctores. Charges such as these would seem 
well-nigh incredible, if Wyclif did not repeat them over and 
over again. They remind us of the words of the priest who 
told Tyndale,150 years later, " It were better to be without 

1 lex domini immaculata . . . verissima, completissima et saluberrima, I. 

a Ulum librum debet omnis christianus adiscere cum sit omnis veritas, I. 
109, 138. 

8 I. 54. Alice logica scepissime variantur . . . logica scriptures in eternum 

* I. 22, 29, 138. Christianus philosophtam non discit quia Aristotelis sed 
quia nutorum scriptures sac. et per consequent tamquam suam scientiam qua* 
in libris theologies rectius est edocta. 

840 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

God's laws than to be without the pope's." What could be 
more shocking, horribilius, exclaimed Wyclif, than to as- 
sert that God's words are false. 1 

The supreme authority of the Scriptures appears from their 
contents, the beneficent aim they have in view, and from the 
witness borne to them by Christ. God speaks in all the books. 
They are one great Word of God. Every syllable of the two 
Testaments is true, and the authors were nothing more than 
scribes or heralds. 2 If any error seem to be found in them, the 
error is due to human ignorance and perverseness. Nothing 
is to be believed that is not founded upon this book, and to its 
teachings nothing is to be added. 8 

Wyclif devotes much time to the principles of biblical ex- 
position and brushes away the false principles of the Fathers 
and Schoolmen by pronouncing the " literal verbal sense " the 
true one. On occasion, in his sermons, he himself used the other 
senses, but his sound judgment led him again and again to lay 
emphasis upon the etymological meaning of words as final. The 
tropological, anagogical and allegorical meanings, if drawn 
at all, must be based upon the literal meaning. Wyclif con- 
fessed his former mistake of striving to distinguish them with 
strict precision. There is, in fact, only one sense of Scripture, 
the one God himself has placed in it as the book of life for the 
wayfaring man. 4 Heresy is the contradiction of Scripture. As 
for himself, Wyclif said, he was ready to follow its teachings, 
even unto martyrdom, if necessary. 5 

1 1. 151, 200, 394, 408; Lat. serm., 179; De eccles., 173, 318, etc. 

3 Tota scrip, est unum magnum Verbum Dei., I. 269. Autores nisiscribce 
vel precones ad scrib. Dei legem. I. 392. Also I. 86, 156, 198, 220 sqq., III. 
106 sqq., 143. 

8 Falsitas in proposito est in false intelligent^ et non in Scrip, sac., p. 193. 
Nulli alii in quoquam credere nisi de quanto se fundaverit ex script. I. 383. 
De civ. dom., p. 394. 

4 De ver., 114, 119, 123. Sensus literalis script, est utrobique verus, p. 73. 
Solum ille est sensus script, quern deus et beati legunt in libra vitas qui est uni 
talis et alteri viatoribus, semper verus, etc., p. 126. 

6 Oportet conclusiones carnis et seculi me deserere et sequi Christum in 
pauperie si debeam coronari, 1. 357. Also II. 129-131. In view of the above 
statement, it is seen how utterly against the truth Kropatschek's statement 
is, Man wird den Begnff Vorreformatoren getrost in die historische Rumpel- 


For hundreds of years no eminent teacher had emphasized 
the right of the laity to the Word of God. It was regarded as 
a book for the clergy, and the interpretation of its meaning was 
assumed to rest largely with the decretists and the pope. The 
Council of Toulouse, 1229, had forbidden the use of the Bible 
to laymen. The condemned sects of the 12th and 13th cen- 
turies, especially the Waldenses, had adopted another rule, but 
their assailants, such as Alanus ab Insulis, had shown how 
dangerous their principle was. Wyclif stood forth as the 
champion of an open Bible. It was a book to be studied by 
all Christians, for " it is the whole truth." Because it was given 
to the Church, its teachings are free to every one, even as is 
Christ himself. 1 

To withhold the Scriptures from the laity is a fundamental 
sin. To make them known in the mother-tongue is the first duty 
of the priest. For this reason priests ought always to be fa- 
miliar with the language of the people. Wyclif held up the 
friars for declaring it heresy to translate God's law into Eng- 
lish and make it known to laymen. He argued against their 
position by referring to the gift of tongues at Pentecost and 
to Jerome's translation, to the practice of Christ and the Apos- 
tles who taught peoples in their native languages and to the 
existence in his own day of a French translation made in spite 
of all hindrances. Why, he exclaims, " should not Englishmen 
do the same, for as the lords of England have the Bible in French, 
it would not be against reason if they had the same material in 
English." Through an English Bible Englishmen would be 
enabled best "to follow Christ and come to heaven." 2 What 
could be more positive than the following words ? 

Christen men and women, olde and young, shulden study fast in the 
New Testament, and no simple man of wit shulde be aferde un measurably 

hammer werfen kbnnen, we may without further thought cast the idea of Re- 
formers before the Reformation into the historical rag bag. The remark he 
makes after stating how little the expression sola scriptura meant in the mouths 
of mediaeval reformers. See Walter in Litzg., 1905, p. 447. 

1 Ilium librum debet omnis Christianus adiscere cum sit omnis veritas. De 
ver., I. 100. Fideles cujuscunque generis, fuerint clerici vel laid, viri vel 
femtnas, tnveniunt inea virtutem operand!, etc., pp. 117, 186. Op. evang., II. 
36. Matthew, Sel. Works, p. 429 sq. 

342 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

to study in the text of holy Writ. Pride and covetise of clerks is cause 
of their blyndness and heresie and priveth them fro verie understand- 
ing of holy Writ The New Testament is of f ul autorite and open to un- 
derstanding of simple men, as to the pynts that ben most needful to sal- 

Wyclif was the first to give the Bible to his people in their 
own tongue. He knew no Hebrew and probably no Greek. 
His version, which was made from the Latin Vulgate, was the 
outgrowth of his burning desire to make his English country- 
men more religious and more Christian. The paraphrastic 
translation of books which proceeded from the pen of Richard 
Rolle and perhaps a verse of the New Testament of Kentish 
origin and apparently made for a nunnery, 1 must be considered 
as in no wise in conflict with the claim of priority made for the 
English Reformer. In his task he had the aid of Nicolas Here- 
ford, who translated the Old Testament and the Apocryphal 
books as far as Baruch 3 : 20. A revision was made of Wyclif s 
Bible soon after his death, by Purvey. In his prologue, Pur- 
vey makes express mention of the " English Bible late trans- 
lated," and affirms that the Latin copies had more need of being 
corrected than it. One hundred and seventy copies of these 
two English bibles are extant, and it seems strange that, until 
the edition issued by Forshall and Madden in 1850, they re- 
mained unprinted. 2 The reason for their not being struck off 
on the presses of Caxton and other early English printers, who 
issued the Golden Legend, with its fantastic and often gre wsome 
religious tales, was that Wyclif had been pronounced a heretic 
and his version of the Scriptures placed under the ban by the 
religious authorities in England. 

* The text pub. Camhr., 1902 and 1905, by Anna C. Panes : A Fourteenth 
Cent. Engl. Bible Vs. 

2 The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocry- 
phal Books, in the earliest English Versions made from the Vulgate by John 
Wycliffe and his Followers. 4 vols., Oxford, 1860. The work cost 22 years of 
labor. It contains Purvey 's Prologue and an exhaustive Preface by the editors. 
Purvey's New Test, had been printed by John Lewis, London, 1731, and re- 
printed by Henry Baber, Lond., 1810, and in the Bagster English Hexapla, 
Lond., 1841. Adam Clarke had published Wyclif s version of the Canticles 
in his Commentary, 3rd vol., 1823, and Lea Wilson, Wyclif 's New Test., Lond., 


A manuscript preserved in the Bodleian, Forshall and Mad- 
den affirm to be without question the original copy of Hereford 
himself. These editors place the dates of the versions in 1382 
and 1388. Purvey was a Lollard, who boarded under Wyclif s 
roof and, according to the contemporary chronicler, Knighton, 
drank plentifully of his instructions. He was imprisoned, but 
in 1400 recanted, and was promoted to the vicarage of Hy the. 
This preferment he resigned three years later. He was im- 
prisoned a second time by Archbishop Chichele, 1421, was alive 
in 1427, and perhaps died in prison. 

To follow the description given by Knighton in his Chroni- 
cle, the gift of the English Bible was regarded by Wyclif's 
contemporaries as both a novel act and an act of desecration. 
The irreverence and profanation of offering such a translation 
was likened to the casting of pearls before swine. The passage 
in Knighton, who wrote 20 years after Wyclif's death, runs 
thus : 

The Gospel, which Christ bequeathed to the clergy and doctors of the 
Church, as they in turn give it to lay and weaker persons, this Mas- 
ter John Wyclif translated out of the Latin into the Anglican tongue, not 
the Angelic tongue, so that by him it is become common, vulgare, and 
more open to the lay folk and to women, knowing how to read, than it used 
to be to clerics of a fair amount of learning and of good minds. Thus, 
the Gospel pearl is cast forth and trodden under foot of swine, and what 
was dear to both clergy and laity is now made a subject of common jest to 
both, and the jewel of the clergy is turned into the sport of the laity, so 
that what was before to the clergy and doctors of the Church a divine gift, 
has been turned into a mock Gospel [or common thing]. 1 

The plain meaning of this statement seems to be that Wyclif 
translated at least some of the Scriptures, that the translation 
was a novelty, and that the English was not a proper language 
for the embodiment of the sacred Word. It was a cleric's 
book, and profane temerity, by putting it within the reach of 
the laity, had vulgarized it. 

The work speedily received reprobation at the hands of the 

1 Commune ceternum. It is hard to give the exact rendering of these 
words. Knighton goes on to refer to William of St. Amour, who said of some 
that they changed the pure Gospel into another Gospel, the evangelium aster- 
num or evangelium Spiritus sancti. Knighton, Chronicle, II. 161 sq. 

344 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Church authorities. A bill presented in the English parlia- 
ment, 1391, to condemn English versions, was rejected through 
the influence of the duke of Lancaster, but an Oxford synod, 
of 1408, passed the ominous act, that upon pain of greater ex- 
communication, no man, by his own authority, should translate 
into English or any other tongue, until such translation were 
approved by the bishop, or, if necessary, by the provincial 
council. It distinctly mentions the translation " set forth in 
the time of John Wyclif." Writing to John XXIII., 1412, 
Archbishop Arundel took occasion to denounce " that pesti- 
lent wretch of damnable memory, yea, the forerunner and dis- 
ciple of anti-christ who, as the complement of his wickedness, 
invented a new translation of the Scriptures into his mother- 
tongue." l 

In 1414, the reading of the English Scriptures was forbidden 
upon pain of forfeiture " of land, cattle, life and goods from 
their heirs forever." Such denunciations of a common Eng- 
lish version were what Wyclif s own criticisms might have 
led us to expect, and quite in consonance with the decree of 
the Synod of Toulouse, 1229, and Arundel's reprobation has 
been frequently matched by prelatical condemnation of ver- 
nacular translations of the Bible and their circulation down 
to the papal f ulminations of the 19th century against Bible so- 
cieties, as by Pius VII., 1816, who declared them " fiendish in- 
stitutions for the undermining of the foundation of religion." 
The position, taken by Catholic apologists, that the Catholic 
hierarchy has never set itself against the circulation of the 
Scriptures in the vernacular, but only against unauthorized 
translations, would be adapted to modify Protestantism's notion 
of the matter, if there were some evidence of only a limited 
attempt to encourage Bible study among the laity of the Catholic 
Church with the pages of Scripture open before them. If we 
go to the Catholic countries of Southern Europe and to South 
America, where her sway has been unobstructed, the very op- 
posite is true. 

In the clearest language, Wyclif charged the priestly author- 

1 Novas adsuce malitias complementum Scripturarum in linguam maternam 
translations practica adinventa. Wilkins, III. 350. 


ities of his time with withholding the Word of God from the 
laity, and denying it to them in the language the people could 
understand. And the fact remains that, from his day until 
the reign of Elizabeth, Catholic England did not produce any 
translations of the Bible, and the English Reformers were of 
the opinion that the Catholic hierarchy was irrevocably set 
against English versions. Tyndale had to flee from England 
to translate his New Testament, and all the copies of the first 
edition that could be collected were burnt on English soil. 
And though it is alleged that Tyndale 's New Testament was 
burnt because it was an " unauthorized " translation, it still 
remains true that the hierarchy made no attempt to give the 
Bible to England until long after the Protestant Reformation 
had begun and Protestantism was well established. 

The copies of Wyclif s and Purvey's versions seem to have 
been circulated in considerable numbers in England, and were 
in the possession of low and high. The Lollards cherished 
them. A splendid copy was given to the Carthusians of Lon- 
don by Henry VI., and another copy was in the possession of 
Henry VII. Sir Thomas More states distinctly that there was 
found in the possession of John Hunne, who was afterwards 
burnt, a Bible " written after Wyclif 's copy and by him trans- 
lated into our tongue." l While for a century and a half these 
volumes helped to keep alive the spirit of Wyclif in England, 
it is impossible to say how far Wyclif s version influenced the 
Protestant Reformers. In fact, it is unknown whether they 
used it at all. Some of its words, such as mote and beam and 
strait gate, which are found in the version of the 16th century, 
seem to indicate, to say the least, that these terms had become 
common property through the medium of Wyclif s version. 2 
The priceless heirloom which English-speaking peoples possess 
in the English version and in an open Bible free to all who will 
read, learned and unlearned, lay and cleric, will continue to be 
associated with the Reformer of the 14th century. As has been 
said by one of the ablest of recent Wyclif students, Budden- 
sieg, the call to honor the Scriptures as the Word of God and 

1 More's Works, p. 240, quoted by Gairdner, 1. 112. 

* See Forshall and Madden, p. xxxii, and Eadie, pp. 90-94. 

846 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

to study and diligently obey them, runs through Wyclifs writ- 
ings like a scarlet thread. 1 Without knowing it, he departed 
diametrically from Augustine when he declared that the Scrip- 
tures do not depend for their authority upon the judgment of 
the Church, but upon Christ. 

In looking over the career and opinions of John Wyclif, it 
becomes evident that in almost every doctrinal particular did 
this man anticipate the Reformers. The more his utterances 
are studied, the stronger becomes this conviction. He exalted 
preaching ; he insisted upon the circulation of the Scriptures 
among the laity ; he demanded purity and fidelity of the clergy ; 
he denied infallibility to the papal utterances, and went so far 
as to declare that the papacy is not essential to the being of 
the Church. He defined the Church as the congregation of 
the elect ; he showed the unscriptural and unreasonable char- 
acter of the doctrine of transubstantiation ; he pronounced 
priestly absolution a declarative act. He dissented from the 
common notion about pilgrimages ; he justified marriage on 
biblical grounds as honorable among all men ; he appealed for 
liberty for the monk to renounce his vow, and to betake him- 
self to some useful work. 

The doctrine of justification by faith Wyclif did not state. 
However, he constantly uses such expressions as, that to be- 
lieve in Christ is life. The doctrine of merit is denied, and 
Christ's mediation is made all-sufficient. He approached close 
to the Reformers when he pronounced "faith the supreme 
theology," fides est summa theologia^ and that only by the 
study of the Scriptures is it possible to become a Christian. 2 

Behind all Wyclifs other teaching is his devotion to Christ 
and his appeal to men to follow Him and obey His law. It is 

1 Buddensieg, Introd. to De ver., pp. xxxii, xxxviii. 

2 See De ver. *cr., I. 209, 212, 214, 260, II. 234. He made a distinction be- 
tween the material and formal principles when he spoke of the words of 
Christ as something materiale, and the inner meaning as something formale. 
Buddensieg, p. xlv, says Wyclif had a dawning presentiment of justifying 
faith. According to Poole, he stated the doctrine in other terms in his treat- 
ment of lordship. Rashdall, Diet. Natl. Biog., LXIII. 221, says that, apart 
from the doctrine of justification by faith, there is little in the teachings of the 
16th cent, which Wyclif did not anticipate. 


scarcely an exaggeration to say that the name of Christ appears 
on every page of his writings. To him, Christ was the su- 
preme philosopher, yea, the content of all philosophy. 1 

In reaching his views Wyclif was, so far as we know, as in- 
dependent as any teacher can well be. There is no indica- 
tion that he drew from any of the mediaeval sects, as has been 
charged, nor from Marsiglius and Ockam . He distinctly states 
that his peculiar views were drawn not from Ockam but from 
the Scriptures. 2 

The Continental Reformers did not give to Wyclif the honor 
they gave to Huss. Had they known more about him, they 
might have said more. 8 Had Luther had access to the splendid 
shelf of volumes issued by the Wyclif Society, he might have 
said of the English Reformer what he said of Wessel's Works 
when they were put into his hands. The reason why no or- 
ganized reformation followed Wyclif s labors is best given 
when we say, the time was not yet ripe. And, after all the 
parallelisms are stated between his opinions and the doctrines 
of the Reformers, it will remain true that, evangelical as he was 
in speech and patriotic as he was in spirit, the Englishman never 
ceased to be a Schoolman. Luther was fully a man of the new 

the priority of Wyclif's translation has been denied by Abbot Gasquet in 
two elaborate essays, The Old English Bible, pp. 87-155. He also pro- 
nounces it to be very doubtful if Wyclif ever translated any part of the 
Bible. All that can be attempted here is a brief statement of the case. 
In addition to Knighton's testimony, which seems to be as plain as language 
could put it, we have the testimony of John Huss in his Reply to the 
Carmelite Stokes, 1411, that Wyclif translated the whole Bible into English. 

1 Summits philos.y immo summa philosophia est Christus, deus noster, 
quern seqitendo et discendo sumus philosophi. De ver. scr., I. 32. 

2 De ver. scr., 1. 346 sqq. See Loserth, Kirchenpolitik, pp. 2, 112 sq. Bud- 
densieg, De ver. scr., p. viii, says, Waser war wissen tot'r, nicht wie er es ge- 
worden. We know what he was, but not how he came to be what he was. 
See, for a Bom. Cath. judgment, Hergenrother-Kirsch, II. 878, who finds con- 
centrated in Wyclif the false philosophy of the Waldenses and the Apocalyp- 
tics, of Marsiglius and Ockam. 

8 Melanchthon, in a letter to Myconius, declared that Wyclif was wholly 
ignorant of the doctrine of justification, and at another time he said he had 
foolishly mixed up the Gospel and politics. 

348 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

No one contends that Wyclif did as much as this, and Huss was no doubt 
speaking in general terms, having in mind the originator of the work and the 
man's name connected with it. The doubt cast upon the first proposition, 
the priority of Wyclif 's version, is due to Sir Thomas More's statement in 
his Dialogue, 1530, Works, p. 233. In controverting the positionsof Tyndale 
and the Reformers, he said, " The whole Bible was before Wyclif 's days, 
by virtuous and well-learned men, translated into English and by good 
and godly people, with devotion and soberness, well and reverently read." 
He also says that he saw such copies. In considering this statement it 
seems very possible that More made a mistake (1) because the statement 
is contrary to Knighton's words, taken in their natural sense and Huss' 
testimony. (2) Because Wyclif's own statements exclude the existence 
of any English version before his own. (3) Because the Lollards asso- 
ciated their Bible with Wyclifs name. (4) Because before the era of 
the Reformation no English writer refers to any translating except in con- 
nection with Wyclifs name and time. Sir Thomas More was engaged in 
controversy and attempting to justify the position that the Catholic hie- 
rarchy had not been opposed to translations of the Scriptures nor to their 
circulation among proper classes of the laity. But Abbot Gasquet, after 
proposing a number of conjectural doubts and setting aside the natural 
sense of Knighton's and ArundePs statements, denies altogether the Wyc- 
liffite authorship of the Bible ascribed to him and edited by Forshall 
and Madden, and performs the feat of declaring this Bible one of the old 
translations mentioned by More. It must be stated here, a statement that 
will be recalled later, that Abbot Gasquet is the representative in England 
of the school of Janssen, which has endeavored to show that the Catholic 
Church was in an orderly process of development before Luther arose, and 
that Luther and the Reformers checked that development and also wil- 
fully misrepresented the condition of the Church of their day. Dr. Gas- 
quet, with fewer plausible facts and less literature at command than Jans- 
sen, seeks to present the English Church's condition in the later Middle 
Ages as a healthy one. And this he does (1 ) by referring to the existence 
of an English mediaeval literature, still in MSS., which he pronounces vast 
in its bulk ; (2) by absolutely ignoring the statements of Wyclif ; (3) by 
setting aside the testimonies of the English Reformers ; (4) by disparag- 
ing the Lollards as a wholly humble and illiterate folk. Against all these 
witnesses he sets up the single witness, Sir Thomas More. 

The second proposition advocated by Dr. Gasquet that it is doubtful, and 
perhaps very improbable, that Wyclif did nothing in the way of translating 
the Bible, is based chiefly upon the fact that Wyclif does not refer to such 
a translation anywhere in his writings. If we take the abbot's own high 
priest among authorities, Sir Thomas More, the doubt is found to be unjusti- 
fiable, if not criminal. More, speaking of John Hunne, who was burnt, 
said that he possessed a copy of the Bible which was " af ter a Wycliffite copy." 
Eadie, I. 60 sqq. ; Westcott, Hist, of the Eng. Bible. Gairdner, who discusses 

43. THE LOLLARDS. 349 

the subject fairly in his Lollardy, 1. 101-117, Capes, pp. 125-128, F. D. Mat- 
thew, in Eng. Hist. Rev., 1895, and Bigg, Wayside Sketches, p. 127 sq., 
take substantially the position taken by the author. Gasquet was pre- 
ceded by Lingard, Hist, of Eng., IV. 196, who laid stress upon Here's 
testimony to offset and disparage the honor given from time immemorial to 
Wyclif in connection with the English Bible. 

How can a controversialist be deemed fair who, in a discussion of this 
kind, does not even once refer to Wyclif 's well-known views about the value 
of a popular knowledge of the Scriptures, and his urgency that they be given 
to all the people through plain preaching and in translation ? Dr. Gasquet's 
attitude to " the strange personality of Wyclif " may be gotten from these 
words, Old Eng. Bible, p. 88 : " Whatever we may hold as Catholics as to 
his unsound theological opinions, about which there can be no doubt, or, 
as peace-loving citizens, about his wild revolutionary social theories, on 
which, if possible, there can be less," etc. 

The following are two specimens of Wyclif s versions : 
MATT. viu. 23-27. And Jhesu steyinge vp in to a litel ship, his disciplis 
sueden him. And loo ! a grete steryng was made in the see, so that the litil 
ship was hilid with wawis ; but he slepte. And his disciplis camen nigh to 
hym, and raysiden hym, sayinge, Lord, saue vs : we perishen. And Jhesus 
seith to hem, What ben yhee of litil feith agast ? Thanne he rysynge com- 
aundide to the wyndis and the see, and a grete pesibleuesse is maad. For- 
sothe men wondreden, sayinge : Whatmanere man is he this, for the wyndis 
and the see obeishen to hym. 

ROM. viu. 5-8. For thei that ben af tir the fleisch saueren tho thingis that 
ben of the fleisch, but thei that ben af tir the spirit f elen tho thingis that ben 
of thespirit. For the prudence of fleisch : isdeeth,but theprudence of spirit: 
is liif and pees. For the wisdom of fleische is enemye to God, for it is not 
suget to the lawe of God : for nether it may. And thei that ben in fleisch : 
moun not please to God. 

43. The Lollards. J 

Although the impulse which Wyclif started in England did 
not issue there in a compact or permanent organization, it was 
felt for more than a century. Those who adopted his views 
were known as Wycliffites or Lollards, the Lollards being as- 
sociated with the Reformer's name by the contemporary chron- 
iclers, Knighton and Walsingham, and by Walden. 1 The for- 

1 In 1382 Repyngdon was called Lollardus de secta Wyclif, and Peter Stokes 
was referred to as having opposed the " Lollards and the sect of Wyclif," 
Fasc., 296. Knighton, II. 182, 260, expressly calls the Wycliffians Lollards, 
Wydiviani qui et Lollardi dicti sunt. 

850 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

mer term gradually gave way to the latter, which was used to 
embrace all heretics in England. 

The term Lollards was transplanted to England from Hol- 
land and the region around Cologne. As early as 1300 Lollard 
heretics were classed by the authorities with the Beghards, 
Beguines, Fratricelli, Swestriones and even the Flagellants, as 
under the Church's ban. The origin of the word, like the term 
Huguenots, is a matter of dispute. The derivation from the 
Hollander, " Walter Lollard," who wasburntin Cologne, 1322, 
is now abandoned. 1 Contemporaries derived it from lolium, 
tares, and referred it to the false doctrine these sectarists 
were sowing, as does Knighton, and probably also Chaucer, or, 
with reference to their habit of song, from the Latin word lavr 
dare, to praise. 2 The most natural derivation is from the Low 
German, lullen or einlullen^ to sing to sleep, whence our English 
lullaby. None of the Lollard songs have come down to us. 
Scarcely a decade after Wyclif s death a bull was issued by Bon- 
iface IX., 1396, against the "LullardsorBeghards "of the Low 

The Wycliffite movement was suppressed by a rigid inqui- 
sition, set on foot by the bishops and sanctioned by parliament. 
Of the first generation of these heretics down to 1401, so far 
as they were brought to trial, the most, if not all, of them re- 
canted. The 15th century furnished a great number of Lol- 
lard trials and a number of Lollard martyrs, and their number 
was added to in the early years of the 16th century. Active 
measures were taken by Archbishop Courtenay ; and under 
his successor, Thomas, earl of Arundel, the full force of perse- 
cution was let loose. The warlike bishop of Norwich, Henry 

1 Fredericq, I. 172. A certain Matthew, whose bones were exhumed and 
burnt, is called Mattaeus Lollsert. Fred., I. 250. For documents associating 
the Lollards with other sectarists, see Fred., I. 228, II. 132, 133, III. 46, etc. 
a So Jan Hocsem of Lie*ge, d. 1348, who in his Gesta pontiff. Leodienrtvm 
says, eodem anno (1809) quidam hypocrite gyrovagi qui Lollardi sive Deum lau- 
dantes vocabuntur, etc. Fred., 1. 154. Chaucer, hi his Prologue to the Ship- 
man^ Tale, says: 

This loller here wol prechen us somewhat 

He wolde sowen some difficulty 

Or sprenge cokkle in our dene corn. 

43. THE LOLLARDS. 351 

Spenser, joined heartily in the repressive crusade, swearing to 
put to death by the flames or by decapitation any of the dis- 
senters who might presume to preach in his diocese. The 
reason for the general recantations of the first generation of 
Wyclif s followers has been found in the novelty of heresy 
trials in England and the appalling effect upon the accused, 
when for the first time they felt themselves confronted with 
the whole power of the hierarchy. 1 

In 1394, they were strong enough to present a petition in 
full parliament, containing twelve Conclusions. 2 These prop- 
ositions called the Roman Church the stepmother of the Church 
in England, declared that many who had priestly ordination 
were not ordained of God, took up the evils growing out of en- 
forced celibacy, denied Christ's material presence in the eu- 
charist, condemned pilgrimages and image-worship, and pro- 
nounced priestly confession and indulgences measures invented 
for the profit of the clergy. The use of mitres, crosses, oil 
and incense was condemned and also war, on the ground that 
warriors, after the first blood is let, lose all charity, and so 
" go straight to hell." In addition to the Bible, the document 
quotes Wyclif's Trialogus by name. 

From about 1390 to 1425, we hear of the Lollards in all di- 
rections, so that the contemporary chronicler was able to say 
that of every two men found on the roads, one was sure to be 
a Lollard. 8 With the accession of Henry IV. of Lancaster 
(1399-1413), a severe policy was adopted. The culminating 
point of legislation was reached in 1401, when parliament 
passed the act for the burning of heretics, the first act of the 
kind in England. 4 The statute referred to the Lollards as a 
new sect, damnably thinking of the faith of the Church in re- 
spect to the sacraments and, against the law of God and the 
Church, usurping the office of preaching. It forbade this peo- 
ple to preach, hold schools and conventicles and issue books. 
The violators were to be tried in the diocesan courts and, if 

1 Cheyney, p. 486 aqq. 

* Gee and Hardy, pp. 126-182. Fasc., pp. 860-869. See Gairdner, 1. 44-46. 
Knighton, II. 191. 

* De comburendo hoerctico, Gee and Hardy, pp. 138-187. 

352 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

found guilty and refusing to abjure, were to be turned over 
to the civil officer and burnt. The burning, so it was stipu- 
lated, was to be on a high place where the punishment might be 
witnessed and the onlookers be struck with fear. 

The most prominent personages connected with the earliest 
period of Wycliffism, Philip Repyngdon, John Ashton, Nico- 
las Hereford and John Purvey, all recanted. The last three 
and Wyclif are associated by Knighton as the four arch-here- 

Repyngdon, who had boldly declared himself at Oxford for 
Wyclif and his view of the sacrament, made a full recantation, 
1382. Subsequently he was in high favor, became chancellor 
of Oxford, bishop of Lincoln and a cardinal, 1408. He showed 
the ardor of his zeal by treating with severity the sect whose 
views he had once espoused. 

John Ashton had been one of the most active of Wyclif's 
preachers. In setting forth his heretical zeal, Knighton de- 
scribes him as " leaping up from his bed and, like a dog, ready to 
bark at the slightest sound." He finally submitted in Court- 
enay's court, professing that he " believed as our modur, holy 
kirke, believes," and that in the sacrament the priest has in 
his hand Christ's very body. He was restored to his privi- 
leges as lecturer in Oxford, but afterwards fell again into heret- 
ical company. 1 

Hereford, Wyclif's fellow-translator, appealed to Rome, was 
condemned there and cast into prison. After two years of con- 
finement, he escaped to England and, after being again im- 
prisoned, made his peace with theChurch and died a Carthusian. 

In 1389, nine Lollards recanted before Courtenay, at Leices- 
ter. The popular preacher, William Swynderby, to whose 
sermons in Leicester the people flocked from every quarter, 
made an abject recantation, but later returned to his old ways, 

1 Knighton, II. 171 sqq., gives the recantation in English, the Fasc., p. 320, 
in Latin. John Foxe's accounts of the Lollard martyrs are always quaintly 
related. Gairdner is the fullest and best of the recent treatments. For his 
judgment of Foxe, see I. 159, 836 sqq. He ascribes to him accuracy in tran- 
scribing documents. The articles in the Diet, of Natl. Biog. are always to be 

43. THE LOLLARDS. 353 

and was tried in 1391 and convicted. Whether he was burnt 
or died in prison, Foxe says, he could not ascertain. 

The number suffering death by the law of 1401 was not 
large in the aggregate. The victims were distributed through 
the 125 years down to the middle of Henry VIII. 's reign. There 
were among them no clergymen of high renown like Ridley and 
Latimer. The Lollards were an humble folk, but by their 
persistence showed the deep impression Wyclif's teachings 
had made. The first martyr, the poor chaplain of St. Osythe, 
William Sawtre, died March 2, 1401, before the statute for 
burning heretics was passed. He abjured and then returned 
again to his heretical views. After trying him, the spiritual 
court ordered the mayor or sheriff of London to " commit him 
to the fire that he be actually burnt." 1 The charges were that 
he denied the material presence, condemned the adoration of 
the cross and taught that preaching was the priesthood's most 
important duty. 

Among other cases of burnings were John Badby, a tailor 
of Evesham, 1410, who met his awful fate chained inside of a 
cask ; two London merchants, Richard Turming and John 
Claydon at Smithfield, 1415 ; William Taylor, a priest, in 1423 
atSmithfield ; William White at Norwich, 1428 ; Richard Hove- 
den, a London citizen, 1430 ; Thomas Bagley, a priest, in the 
following year ; and in 1440, Richard Wyche, who had corre- 
sponded withHuss. Peter Payne, the principal of St. Edmund's 
College, Oxford, took refuge in flight, 1417, and became a 
leader among the Hussites, taking a prominent part as their 
representative at the Council of Basel. According to Foxe 
there were, 1424-1430, 100 prosecutions for heresy in Norwich 
alone. The menace was considered so great that, in 1427, 
Richard Flemmyng, bishop of Lincoln, founded Lincoln Col- 
lege, Oxford, to counteract heresy. It was of this college that 
John Wesley was a fellow, the man who made a great breach 
in the Church in England. 

1 Gee and Hardy give the sentence and the Fasc. the proceedings of the trial. 
It is a matter of dispute under what law Sawtrd was condemned to the flames. 
Prof. Mattland, in his Canon Law, holds that it was under the old canon 
practice as expressed in papal bulls. The statute De comburendo was before 
parliament at the time of Sawtre*'s death. 


354 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

The case of William Thorpe, who was tried in 1397 and again 
before Arundel, 1407, is of interest not only in itself, but for 
the statements that were made in the second trial about Wyclif. 
The archbishop, after accusing Thorpe of having travelled about 
in Northern England for 20 years, spreading the infection of 
heresy, declared that he was called of God to destroy the false 
sect to which the prisoner belonged, and pledged himself to 
" punish it so narrowly as not to leave a slip of you in this 
land. " l Thorpe's assertion that Wyclif was the greatest clerk 
of his time evoked from Arundel the acknowledgment that he 
was indeed a great clerk and, by the consent of many, " a perfect 
liver," but that many of the conclusions of his learning were 
damned, as they ought to be. 

Up to the close of the 14th century, a number of laymen in 
high position at court had favored Wycliffism, including Sir 
Lewis Clifford, Sir Richard Stury and Sir John Clanvowe, all 
of the king's council, Sir John Cheyne, speaker of the lower 
house, the Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas Erpingham and also 
the earl of Salisbury. 2 This support was for the most part 
withdrawn when persecution took an active form. With Sir 
John Oldcastle, otherwise known as Lord Cobham from his 
marriage with the heiress of the Cobham estate, it was differ- 
ent. He held firm to the end, encouraged the new preachers 
on his estates in Kent, and condemned the mass, auricular con- 
fession and the worship of images. Arundel's court, before 
which he appeared after repeated citations, turned him over 
to the secular arm "to do him to death." Oldcastle was im- 
prisoned in the Tower, but made his escape and was at large 
for four years. In 1414, he was charged with being a party to 
an uprising of 20,000 Lollards against the king. Declared an 
outlaw, he fled to Wales, where he was seized three years later 
and taken to London to be hanged and burnt as a traitor and 
heretic, Dec. 15, 1417. 8 John Foxe saw in him "the blessed 
martyr of Christ, the good Lord Cobham." 

1 The proceedings are given at great length by Foze and by Bale, who copied 
Tyndale's account. 8el. Works of Bp. Bale, pp. 62-133. 

2 Walsingham, II. 244 ; Knighton, II. 181 ; Chron. Angl., p. 377. 

8 Walsingham, II. 328, says he was hung as a traitor and burnt as a heretic. 
TJsk, p. 317, reports he " was hung on the gallows in a chain of iron after 

43. THE LOLLARDS. 355 

It is a pleasant relief from these trials and puttings-to-death 
to find the University of Oxford in 1406 bearing good testi- 
mony to the memory of its maligned yet distinguished dead, 
placing on record its high sense of his purity of life, power in 
preaching and diligence in studies. But fragrant as his mem- 
ory was held in Oxford, at least secretly, parliament was fixed 
in its purpose to support the ecclesiastical authorities in stamp- 
ing out his doctrine. In 1414, it ordered the civil officer to 
take the initiative in ferreting out heresy, and magistrates, from 
the Lord chancellor down, were called upon to use their power 
in extirpating "all manner of heresies, errors and lollardies." 
This oath continued to be administered for two centuries, until 
Sir Edward Coke, Lord High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, re- 
fused to take it, with the name Lollard included, insisting that 
the principles of Lollardy had been adopted by the Church of 
England. 1 

Archbishop Chichele seemed as much bent as his predecessor, 
Arundel, on clearing the realm of all stain of heresy. In 1416 
he enjoined his suffragans to inquire diligently twice a year 
for persons under suspicion and, where they did not turn them 
over to the secular court, to commit them to perpetual or tem- 
porary imprisonment, as the nature of the case might require. 
It was about the same time that an Englishman, at the trial 
of Huss in Constance, after a parallel had been drawn between 
Wyclifs views and those of the Bohemian, said, " By my 
soul, if I were in your place I would abjure, for in England 
all the masters, one after another, albeit very good men, when 
suspected of Wicliffism, abjured at the command of the arch- 
bishop." 2 

Heresy also penetrated into Scotland, James Resby, one of 
Wyclif 's poor priests, being burnt at Perth, 1407, and another 
at Glasgow, 1422. In 1433, a Bohemian student at St. Andrews, 

that he had been drawn. He was once and for all burnt up with fierce fire, 
paying justly the penalty of both swords." The Fasciculi give a protracted 
account of Sir John's opinions and trial. Judgments have been much 
divided about him. Fuller speaks of him " as a boon companion, jovial 
roysterer and yet a coward to boot." Shakespeare presents him hi the char- 
acter of Falstaff. See Galrdner, I. 97 sq. 

i Summers, p. 07. * Loserth, Wiclif and Hus, p. 175. 

356 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Paul Craw, suffered the same penalty for heresy. 1 The Scotch 
parliament of 1425 en joined bishops to make search for heretics 
and Lollards, and in 1416 every master of arts at St. Andrews 
was obliged to take an oath to defend the Church against them. 

Between 1450-1517, Lollardy was almost wholly restricted 
to the rural districts, and little mention is made of it in con- 
temporary records. At Amersham, one of its centres, four 
were tried in 1462, and some suffered death, as William Barlowe 
in 1466, and John Goose a few years later. In 1507, three were 
burnt there, including William Tylsworth, the leading man of 
the congregation. At the crucial moment he was deserted by 
the members, and sixty of them joined in carrying fagots for 
his burning. This time of recantation continued to be known 
in the district as the Great Abjuration. The first woman to 
suffer martyrdom in England, Joan Broughton, was burnt at 
Smithfield, 1494, as was also her daughter, Lady Young. Nine 
Lollards made public penance at Coventry, 1486, but, as late 
as 1519, six men and one woman suffered death there. Foxe 
also mentions William Sweeting and John Brewster as being 
burnt at Smithfield, 1511, and John Brown at Ashford the 
same year. How extensively Wyclif's views continued to be 
secretly held and his writings read is a matter of conjecture. 
Not till 1559 was the legislation directed against Lollardy re- 

Our knowledge of the tenets and practices of the Lollards 
is derived from their Twelve Conclusions and other Lollard 
documents, the records of their trials and from the Represser 
for over-much Blaming of the Clergy, an English treatise written 
by Dr. Pecock, bishop of Chichester, and finished 1455. In- 
clined to liberal thought, Bishop Pecock assumed a different at- 
titude from Courtenay, Arundel and other prelates, and sought 
by calm reasoning to win the Lollards from their mistakes. 
He mentioned the designation of Known Men 1 Cor. 14 : 
38, 2 Tim. 2:19 as being one of old standing for them, 
and he also calls them "the lay party " or "the Bible Men." 
He proposed to consider their objections against 11 customs 
and institutions, such as the worship of images, pilgrimages, 
1 Mitchell : Scottish Reformation, p. 15. 

45. THE LOLLARDS. 357 

landed endowments for the church, degrees of rank among the 
clergy, the religious orders, the mass, oaths and war. Their 
tenet that no statute is valid which is not found in the Scrip- 
tures he also attempted to confute. In advance of his age, 
the bishop declared that fire, the sword and hanging should 
not be resorted to till the effort had been made " by clene wit 
to draw the Lollards into the consent of the true faith." His 
sensible counsel brought him into trouble, and in 1457 he was 
tried by Archbishop Bouchier and offered the alternative of 
burning or public recantation. Pecock chose the latter, and 
made abjuration at St. Paul's Cross before the archbishop and 
thousands of spectators. He was clothed in full episcopal 
robes, and delivered up 14 of his writings to be burnt. 1 He 
was forced to resign his see, and in 1459 was, at the pope's 
instance, remanded to close confinement in Thorney Abbey. 
His Represser had been twice burnt in Oxford. 

There seems to have been agreement among the Lollards 
in denying the material presence of Christ in the eucharistic 
bread and in condemning pilgrimages, the worship of images and 
auricular confession. They also held to the right of the people 
to read the Scriptures in their own tongue. 2 The expression, 
God's law, was widely current among them, and was opposed 
to the canon law and the decisions of the Church courts. Some 
denied purgatory, and even based their salvation on faith, 8 the 
words, "Thy faith hath saved thee," being quoted for this view. 
Some denied that the marriage bond was dependent upon the 
priest's act, and more the scriptural warrant and expediency 
of priestly celibacy. 4 

Lollardy was an anticipation of the Reformation of the 

1 Among these works was the Provoker, in which Peoock denied that the 
Apostles had compiled the Apostles 1 Creed. See In trod, to Babington's Ed. of 
the Bepressor in Bolls Series, and art. Pecock in Diet. Natl. Biog., XLIV. 

2 Knighton, II. 166, complains of the Lollards having the Scriptures in the 
vulgar tongue. Such a translation he said the laity regarded as melior et 
dignior quam lingua latina. * So Walsingham, II. 263. 

* Summers, p 60, speaks of an unpublished Lollard MS. of 87 articles which 
deal with clerical abuses, Rucli as simony, quarrelling, holding secular offices, 
oaths, the worship of images, the pncharist and papal authority. 

358 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

sixteenth century, and did something in the way of preparing 
the mind of the English people for that change. Professed by 
many clerics, it was emphatically a movement of laymen. In 
the early Reformation period, English Lutherans were at times 
represented as the immediate followers of Wyclif . Writing in 
1523 to Erasmus, Tonstall, bishop of London, said of Lutheran- 
ism that "it was not a question of some pernicious novelty, but 
only that new arms were being added to the great band of 
Wycliffite heretics." 1 

44. John HUBS of Bohemia. 

Across the seas in Bohemia, where the views of Wyclif were 
transplanted, they took deeper root than in England, and as- 
sumed an organized form. There, the English Reformer was 
called the fifth evangelist and, in its earlier stages, the move- 
ment went by the name of Wycliffism. It was only in the later 
periods that the names Hussites and Hussitism were substi- 
tuted for Wycliffites and Wycliffism. Its chief spokesmen were 
John HUBS and Jerome of Prag, who died at the stake at Con- 
stance for their avowed allegiance to Wyclif. 

Through Huss, Prag became identified with a distinct stage 
in the history of religious progress. Distinguished among its 
own people as the city of St. John of Nepomuk, d. 1383, and in 
the history of armies as the residence of Wallenstein, the Cath- 
olic leader in the Thirty Years' War, Prag is known in the West- 
ern world pre-eminently as the home of Huss. Through his 
noble advocacy, the principles enunciated by Wyclif became 
the subject of discussion in oecumenical councils, called forth 
armed crusades and furnished an imposing spectacle of stead- 
fast resistance against religious oppression. Wycliffism passed 
out of view in England ; but Hussitism, in spite of the most 
bitter persecution by the Jesuits, has trickled down in pure 
though small streamlets into the religious history of modern 
times, notably through the Moravians of Herrnhut. 

During the reign of Charles IV., king of Bohemia and em- 
peror, 1346-1378, the Bohemian kingdom entered upon the 

1 Trevelyan, p. 849. 



golden era of its literary and religious history. In 1344, the 
archbishopric of Prag was created, and the year 1347 witnessed 
an event of far more than local importance in the founding of 
the University of Prag. The first of the German universities, 
it was forthwith to enter upon the era of its brightest fame. 
The Czech and German languages were spoken side by side 
in the city, which was divided, at the close of the 14th cen- 
tury into five quarters. The Old Town, inhabited chiefly by 
Germans, included the Teyn church, the Carolinum, the Beth- 
lehem chapel and the ancient churches of St. Michael and St. 
Gallus. Under the first archbishop of Prag, Arnest of Par- 
dubitz, and his successor Ocko of Wlaschim, a brave effort was 
made to correct ecclesiastical abuses. In 1355, the demand for 
popular instruction was recognized by a law requiring parish 
priests to preach in the Czech. The popular preachers, Kon- 
rad of Waldhausen, d. 1369, Militz of Kremsier, d. 1374, and 
Matthias of Janow, d. 1394, made a deep impression. They 
quoted at length from the Scriptures, urged the habit of fre- 
quent communion, and Janow, as reported by Rokyzana at the 
Council of Basel, 1433, seems to have administered the cup to 
the laity. 1 When John Huss entered upon his career in the 
university, he was breathing the atmosphere generated by these 
fervent evangelists, although in his writings he nowhere quotes 

Close communication between England and Bohemia had 
been established with the marriage of the Bohemian king Wen- 
zel's sister, Anne of Luxemburg, to Richard II., 1382. She was 
a princess of cultivated tastes, and had in her possession copies 
of the Scriptures in Latin, Czech and German. Before this 
nuptial event, the philosophical faculty of the University of 
Prag, in 1367, ordered its bachelors to add to the instructions 
of its own professors the notebooks of Paris and Oxford doc- 
tors. Here and there a student sought out the English univer- 
sity, or even went so far as the Scotch St. Andrews. Among 
those who studied in Oxford was Jerome of Prag. Thus a 

1 The truth of Rokyzana's statement is denied by Loserth, in Herzog, VIII. 
588 sq. On other Bohemian preachers of Huss 9 day, see Flajshans, Scrm. de 
Sanctis, p. iv. 

360 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

bridge for the transmission of intellectual products was laid 
from Wyclif s lecture hall to the capital on the Moldau. 1 
Wyclif 's views and writings were known in Bohemia at an early 
date. In 1381 a learned Bohemian theologian, Nicolas Biceps, 
was acquainted with his leading principles and made them a 
subject of attack. Huss, in his reply to the English Carmelite, 
John Stokes, 1411, declared that he and the members of the 
university had had Wyclif 's writings in their hands and been 
reading them for 20 years and more. 2 Five copies are extant 
of these writings, made in Huss' own hand, 1398. They were 
carried away in the Thirty Years' War and are preserved in 
the Royal Library of Stockholm. 

John Huss was born of Czech parents, 1369, at Husinec in 
Southern Bohemia. The word Hus means goose, and its dis- 
tinguished bearer often applied the literal meaning to himself. 
For example, he wrote from Constance expressing the hope 
that the Goose might be delivered from prison, and he bade 
the Bohemians, " if they loved the Goose," to secure the king's 
aid in having him released. Friends also referred to him in the 
same way. 8 His parents were poor and, during his studies in 
the University of Prag, he supported himself by singing and 
manual services. He took the degree of bachelor of arts in 1393 
and of divinity a year later. In 1396 he incepted as master of 
arts, and in 1398 began delivering lectures in the university. 
In 1402 he was chosen rector, filling the office for six months. 

With his academic duties Huss combined the activity of a 
preacher, and in 1402 was appointed to the rectorship of the 

1 See Loserth, Wiclifand Bus, p. 70. Wenzel or Wenceslaus IV., sur- 
named the Lazy, was the son of Charles IV. His second wife was Sophia of 
Bavaria. His half-brother, Sigismund, succeeded him on the throne. 

2 Flajshans : Serm. de Sanctis, p. xxi. Nttrnb. ed., I. 135. 

8 Workman : Hus* Letters, pp. 94, 118, 163, 189, 192, 198, 201. The spell- 
ing, Hus, almost universally adopted in recent years by German and English 
writers, has been exchanged by Loserth in his art. in Herzog for Huss, as a 
form more congenial to the German mode of spelling. For the same reason 
this volume has adopted the form Huss as more agreeable to the English read- 
er's eye and more consonant with our mode of spelling. Karl Miiller adopts 
this spelling in his Kirchengeschichte. The exact date of Huss 1 birth is usually 
given as July 6th, 1369, but with insufficient authority. Loserth, Wiclifand 
HUB, p. 65 sq. 


Chapel of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem. This church, 
usually known as the Bethlehem church, was founded in 1391 
by two wealthy laymen, with the stipulation that the incum- 
bent should preach every Sunday and on festival days in Czech. 
It was made famous by its new rector as the little church, Anas- 
tasia, in Constantinople, was made famous in the fourth cen- 
tury by Gregory of Nazianzus, and by his discourses against 
the Arian heresy. 

As early as 1402, Huss was regarded as the chief exponent 
and defender of Wycliffian views at the university. Protests, 
made by the clergy against their spread, took definite form 
in 1403, when the university authorities condemned the 24 
articles placed under the ban by the London council of 1382. 
At the same time 21 other articles were condemned, which one 
of the university masters, John Hiibner, a Pole, professed to 
have extracted from the Englishman's writings. The decision 
forbade the preaching and teaching of these 45 articles. Among 
Wyclif s warm defenders were Stanislaus of Znaim and Ste- 
phen Paletz. The subject which gave the most offence was his 
doctrine of the Lord's Supper. 

A distinct stage in the religious controversies agitating Bo- 
hemia was introduced by the election of Sbinko of Hasenburg 
to the see of Prag, 1403. In the earlier years of his admin- 
istration Huss had the prelate's confidence, held the post of 
synodal preacher and was encouraged to bring to the arch- 
bishop's notice abuses that might be reformed. He was also 
appointed one of a commission of three to investigate the al- 
leged miracles performed by the relic of Christ's blood at 
Wylsnak and attracting great throngs. The report condemned 
the miracles as a fraud. The matter, however, became subject 
of discussion at the university and as far away as Vienna and 
Erfurt, the question assuming the form whether Christ left any 
of his blood on the earth. In a tract entitled the Glorification 
of all Christ's Blood^ 1 Huss took the negative side. In spite 
of him and of the commission's report, the miracles at Wylsnak 
went on, until, in 1552, a zealous Lutheran broke the pyx 
which held the relic and burnt it. 

1 De omni Christi sanguine glorificato, ed. by Flajshans, p. 42. 

362 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

So extensive was the spread of Wycliffism that Innocent 
VII., in 1405, called upon Sbinko to employ severe measures 
to stamp it out and to seize Wyclif s writings. The same year 
a Prag synod forbade the propaganda of Wyclif 's views and 
renewed the condemnation of the 45 articles. Three years later 
Huss whose activity in denouncing clerical abuses and advo- 
cating Wyclif s theology knew no abatement was deposed 
from the position of synodal preacher. The same year the 
university authorities, at the archbishop's instance, ordered 
that no public lectures should be delivered on Wyclif's Tria- 
logus and Dialogue and his doctrine of the Supper, and that no 
public disputation should concern itself with any of the con- 
demned 45 articles. 

The year following, 1409, occurred the emigration from the 
university of the three nations, the Bavarians, Saxons and 
Poles, the Czechs alone being left. The bitter feeling of the 
Bohemians had expressed itself in the demand for three votes, 
while the other nations were to be restricted to one each. 
When Wenzel consented to this demand, 2000 masters and 
scholars withdrew, the Germans going to Leipzig and found- 
ing the university of that city. The University of Prag was 
at once reduced to a provincial school of 500 students, and has 
never since regained its prestige. 1 

Huss, a vigorous advocate of the use of the Czech, was the 
recognized head of the national movement at the university, and 
chosen first rector under the new regime. If possible, his ad- 
vocacy of Wyclif and his views was more bold than before. 
From this time forth, his Latin writings were filled with excerpts 
from the English teacher and teem with his ideas. Wyclif's 
writings were sown broadcast in Bohemia. Huss himself had 
translated the Trialogu* into Czech. Throngs were attracted 
by preaching. Wherever, wrote Huss in 1410, in city or town, 
in village or castle, the preacher of the holy truth made his 

1 See Rashdall : Universities of Europe, I. 211-242. The number of depart- 
ing students is variously given. The number given above has the authority 
of Procopius, a chronicler of the 15th century. Only 602 were matriculated 
at Leipzig the first year, and this figure seems to point to a smaller number 
than 2000 leaving Frag. KUgelgen, Die Geftingmssbriefe, p. ix, adopts the 
unreasonable number, 5000. 


appearance, the people flocked together in crowds and in 
spite of the clergy. 1 

Following a bull issued by Alexander V., Sbinko, in 1410, 
ordered Wyclifs writings seized and burnt, and forbade 
all preaching in unauthorized places. The papal document 
called forth the protest of HUBS and others, who appealed to 
John XXIII. by showing the absurdity of burning books on 
philosophy, logic and other non -theological subjects, a course 
that would condemn the writings of Aristotle and Origen to 
the flames. The protest was in vain and 200 manuscript copies 
of the Reformer's writings were cast into the flames in the 
courtyard of the archiepiscopal palace amidst the tolling of the 
church bells. 2 

Two days after this gre wsome act, the sentence of excommuni- 
cation was launched against Huss and all who might persist 
in refusing to deliver up Wyclifs writings. Defying the arch- 
bishop and the papal bull, Huss continued preaching in the 
Bethlehem chapel. The excitement among all classes was 
intense and men were cudgelled on the streets for speaking 
against the Englishman. Satirical ballads were sung, declaring 
that the archbishop did not know what was in the books he had 
set fire to. Huss' sermons, far from allaying the commotion, 
were adapted to increase it. 

Huss had no thought of submission and, through handbills, 
announced a defence of Wyclifs treatise on the Trinity before 
the university, July 27. But his case had now passed from 
the archbishop's jurisdiction to the court of the curia, which 
demanded the offender's appearance in person, but in vain. 
In spite of the appeals of Wenzel and many Bohemian nobles 
who pledged their honor that he was no heretic, John XXIII. 
put the case into the hands of Cardinal Colonna, afterwards 
Martin V., who launched the ban against Huss for his refusal 
to comply with the canonical citation. 

Colonna's sentence was read from all the pulpits of Prag ex- 
cept two. But the offensive preaching continued, and Sbinko 

1 Workman : Hua* Letters, p. 36. 

2 Among the condemned writings, 17 in all, were the Dialogua, Trialogus, 
De incarnatione Verbi and the De domtnio civili. 

364 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

laid the city under the interdict, which, however, was with- 
drawn on the king's promise to root out heresy from his realm. 
Wenzel gave orders that " Master Huss, our beloved and faith- 
ful chaplain, be allowed to preach the Word of God in peace." 
According to the agreement, Sbinko was also to write to the 
pope assuring him that diligent inquisition had been made, 
and no traces of heresy were to be found in Bohemia. This 
letter is still extant, but was never sent. 

Early in September, 1411, Huss wrote to John XXIII. protest- 
ing his full agreement with the Church andasking that the cita- 
tion to appear before the curia be revoked. In this communi- 
cation and in a special letter to the cardinals l Huss spoke of 
the punishment for heresy and insubordination. He, however, 
wrote to John that he was bound to speak the truth, and that 
he was ready to suffer a dreadful death rather than to declare 
what would be contrary to the will of Christ and his Church. 
He had been defamed, and it was false that he had expressed 
himself in favor of the remanence of the material substance of 
the bread after the words of institution, and that a priest in mor- 
tal sin might not celebrate the eucharist. Sbinko died Sept. 
28, 1411. At this juncture the excitement was increased by 
the arrival in Prag of John Stokes, a Cambridge man, and well 
known in England as an uncompromising foe of Wycliffism. 
He had come with a delegation, sent by the English king, to 
arrange an alliance with Sigismund. Stokes' presence aroused 
the expectation of a notable clash, but the Englishman, although 
he ventilated his views privately, declined Huss' challenge to 
a public disputation on the ground that he was a political repre- 
sentative of a friendly nation. 1 

The same year, 1411, John XXIII. called Europe to a crusade 
against Ladislaus of Naples, the defender of Gregory XII., and 
promised indulgence to all participating in it, whether by per- 
sonal enlistment or by gifts. Tiem, dean of Passau, appointed 
preacher of the holy war, made his way to Prag and opened the 
sale of indulgences. Chests were placed in the great churches, 

1 These letters are given by Workman, pp. 51-54. 

9 Huss 1 reply, Replica, and Stokes 1 statement, which called it forth, are 
given in the Nttrnb. ed., 1. 135-139. 


and the traffic was soon in full sway. As Wyclif, thirty years 
before, in his Cruciate had lifted up his voice against the cru- 
sade in Flanders, so now Huss denounced the religious war and 
denied the pope's right to couple indulgences with it. He 
filled the Bethlehem chapel with denunciations of the sale and, 
in a public disputation, took the ground that remission of sins 
comes through repentance alone and that the pope has no au- 
thority to seize the secular sword. Many of his paragraphs 
were taken bodily from Wyclif 's works on the Church and on 
the Absolution from guilt and punishment. 1 Huss was sup- 
ported by Jerome of Prag. 

Popular opinion was on the side of these leaders, but from 
this time Huss' old friends, Stanislaus of Znaim and Stephen 
Paletz, walked no more with him. Under the direction of Wok 
of Waldstein, John's two bulls, bearing on the crusade and offer- 
ing indulgence, were publicly burnt, after being hung at the 
necks of two students, dressed as harlots, and drawn through 
the streets in a cart. 2 Huss was still writing that he abhorred 
the errors ascribed to him, but the king could not countenance 
the flagrant indignity shown to the papal bulls, and had three 
men of humble position executed, Martin, John and Stanis- 
laus. They had cried out in open church that the bulls were 
lies, as Huss had proved. They were treated as martyrs, and 
their bodies taken to the Bethlehem chapel, where the mass 
for martyrs was said over them. 

To reaffirm its orthodoxy, the theological faculty renewed 
its condemnation of the 45 articles and added 6 more, taken 
from Huss' public utterances. Two of the latter bore upon 
preaching. 8 The clergy of Prag appealed to be protected " from 
the ravages of the wolf, the Wycliffist Hus, the despiser of 
the keys," and the curia pronounced the greater excommuni- 
cation. The heretic was ordered seized, delivered over to 
the archbishop, and the Bethlehem chapel razed to the ground. 

1 Hues' tract is entitled De indulgentit* sive de cruciatu papas Joh. XXIII. 
fulminata contra Ladislaum Apulia regem. Niirnb. ed., 213-235. 

2 Workman : Hua* Letters. 

8 See Huss' reply, Defensto quorundam articulorum J. Wicleff, and the 
rejoinder of the theol. faculty, Niirnb. ed., I. 139-146. 

THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D, 1204-1617. 

Three stones were to be hurled against Huss' dwelling, as a 
sign of perpetual curse. Thus the Reformer had against him 
the archbishop, the university, the clergy and the curia, but 
popular feeling remained in his favor and prevented the papal 
sentence from being carried out. The city was again placed 
under the interdict. Huss appealed from the pope and, because 
a general council's action is always uncertain and at best 
tardy, looked at once to the tribunal of Christ. He publicly 
asserted that the pope was exercising prerogatives received 
from the devil. 

To allay the excitement, Wenzel induced Huss to withdraw 
from the city. This was in 1412. In later years Huss ex- 
pressed doubts as to whether he had acted wisely in complying. 
He was moved not only by regard for the authority of his royal 
protector but by sympathy for the people whom the interdict 
was depriving of spiritual privileges. Had he defied the sen- 
tence and refused compliance with the king's request, it is prob- 
able he would have lost the day and been silenced in prison 
or in the flames in his native city. In this case, the interest 
of his career would have been restricted to the annals of his 
native land, and no place would have been found for him in 
the general history of Europe. So Huss went into exile, but 
there was still some division among the ecclesiastical authori- 
ties of the kingdom over the merits of Wycliffism, and a na- 
tional synod, convoked February 13, 1413, to take measures 
to secure peace, adjourned without coming to a decision. 

Removed from Prag, Huss was indefatigable in preaching 
and writing. Audiences gathered to hear him on the market- 
places and in the fields and woods. Lords in their strong castles 
protected him. Following Wyclif, he insisted upon preach- 
ing as the indefeasible right of the priest, and wrote that to 
cease from preaching, in obedience to the mandate of pope or 
archbishop, would be to disobey God and imperil his own salva- 
tion. 1 He also kept in communication with the city by visit- 
ing it several times and by writing to the Bethlehem chapel, 
the university and the municipal synod. This correspondence 
abounds in quotations from the Scriptures, and Huss reminds 
1 Workman : Hu? Letters, pp. 60, 66. 


his friends that Christ himself was excommunicated as a male- 
factor and crucified. No help was to be derived from the saints. 
Christ's example and his salvation are the sufficient sources 
of consolation and courage. The high priests, scribes, Phari- 
sees, Herod and Pilate condemned the Truth and gave him 
over to death, but he rose from the tomb and gave in his stead 
twelve other preachers. So he would do again. What fear, 
he wrote, " shall part us from God, or what death ? What shall 
we lose if for His sake we forfeit wealth, friends, the world's 
honors and our poor life ? . . . It is better to die well than 
to live badly. We dare not sin to avoid the punishment of death. 
To end in grace the present life is to be banished from misery. 
Truth is the last conqueror. He wins who is slain, for no adver- 
sity "hurts him if no iniquity has dominion over him." In 
this strain he wrote again and again. The " bolts of anti-christ," 
he said, could not terrify him, and should not terrify the " elect 
of Prag." J 

Of the extent of Huss' influence during this period he bore 
witness at Constance when, in answer to D'Ailly, he said: 

I have stated that I came here of my own free will. If I had been un- 
willing to come, neither that king [referring to Wenzel] nor this king here 
[referring to Sigismund] would have been able to force me to come, so nu- 
merous and so powerful are the Bohemian nobles who love me, and within 
whose castles I should have been able to lie concealed. 

And when D'Ailly rebuked the statement as effrontery, John 
of Chlum replied that it was even as the prisoner said, " There 
are numbers of great nobles who love him and have strong 
castles where they could keep him as long as they wished, even 
against both those kings." 

The chief product of this period of exile was Huss' work on 
the Church, De ecclesia^ the most noted of all his writings. It 
was written in view of the national synod held in 1413, and was 
sent to Prag and read in the Bethlehem chapel, July 8. Of 
this tractate Cardinal D'Ailly said at the Council of Constance 
that, by an infinite number of arguments, it combated the pope's 

1 Workman, p. 107-120. Workman translates seventeen letters written 
from this exile, pp. 83-138. 

368 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

plenary authority as much as the Koran, the book of the damned 
Mohammed, combated the Catholic faith. 1 

In this volume, next to Wyclif s,the most famous treatment 
on the Church since Cyprian's work, De ecclesia, and Augus- 
tine's writings against the Donatists, Huss defined the Church 
and the power of the keys, and then proceeds to defend himself 
against the fulminations of Alexander V. and John XXIII. and 
to answer the Prag theologians, Stephen Paletz and Stanislaus 
of Znaim, who had deserted him. The following are some of 
its leading positions. 

The Holy Catholic Church is the body or congregation of all 
the predestinate, the dead, the living and those yet to be. 2 The 
term 'catholic' means universal. The unity of the Church is 
a unity of predestination and of blessedness, a unity of faith, 
charity and grace. The Roman pontiff and the cardinals are 
not the Church. The Church can exist without cardinals and 
a pope, and in fact for hundreds of years there were no cardinals. 8 
As for the position Christ assigned to Peter, Huss affirmed 
that Christ called himself the Rock, and the Church is founded 
on him by virtue of predestination. In view of Peter's clear 
and positive confession, " the Rock Petra said to Peter 
Petro * I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, that is, a confessor 
of the true Rock which Rock I am.' And upon the Rock, that 
is, myself, I will build this Church. " Thus Huss placed himself 
firmly on the ground taken by Augustine in his Retractations. 
Peter never was the head of the Holy Catholic Church. 4 

1 Du Pin, Opp. Gerson., II. 001. The De ecclesia is given in the Ntirnb. 
ed., I. 243-319. 

2 Eccl. est omnium prasdestinatorum universitas ; qua est omnes pradesti- 
nati, prcesentes, prceteriti etfuturi. Nttrnb. ed. I., 244. 

8 Writing to Christian Prachatitz, in 1413, Huss said, " If the pope is the 
head of the Roman Church and the cardinals are the body, then they in 
themselves form the entire Holy Roman Church, as the entire body of a man 
with the head is the man. The satellites of anti-christ use interchangeably 
the expressions * Holy Roman Church ' and ( pope and cardinals ' etc. 1 * Work- 
man : HUB' Letters, p. 121. 

4 Propter confessionem tarn claram et firmam, dixit Petra Petro, et ego 
dico tibi quia tu es Petrus, id est confessor Petras veriB qui est Christus et 
super hone Petram quam confessus es, id est, super me, etc., Ntirnb. ed., I. 257. 
Petrus non fuit nee est caput s. eccles. cathol.,p. 263. See also the same 
interpretation in Huss' Serm. de Sanctis, p. 84. 


He thus set himself clearly against the whole ultramontane 
theory of the Church and its head. The Roman bishop, he 
said, was on an equality with other bishops until Constantino 
made him pope. It was then that he began to usurp author- 
ity. Through ignorance and the love of money the pope may 
err, and has erred, and to rebel against an erring pope is to 
obey Christ. 1 There have been depraved and heretical popes. 
Such was Joan, whose case Huss dwelt upon at length and re- 
fers to at least three times. Such was also the case of Libe- 
rius, who is also treated at length. Joan had a son and Liberius 
was an Arian. 2 

In the second part of the De ecclesia^ Huss pronounced the 
bulls of Alexander and John XXIII. anti-christian, and there- 
fore not to be obeyed. Alexander's bull, prohibiting preach- 
ing in Bohemia except in the cathedral, parish and monastic 
churches was against the Gospel, for Christ preached in houses, 
on the seaside, and in synagogues, and bade his disciples to go 
into all the world and preach. No papal excommunication 
may be an impediment to doing what Christ did and taught 
to be done. 8 

Turning to the pope's right to issue indulgences, the Re- 
former went over the ground he had already traversed in his 
replies to John's two bulls calling for a crusade against Ladis- 
laus. He denied the pope's right to go to war or to make appeal 
to the secular sword. If John was minded to follow Christ, he 
should pray for his enemies and say, " My kingdom is not of 
this world. " Then the promised wisdom would be given which 
no enemies would be able to gainsay. The power to forgive 
sins belongs to no mortal man any more than it belonged to the 
priest to whom Christ sent the lepers. The lepers were cleansed 
before they reached the priest. Indeed, many popes who con- 
ceded the most ample indulgences were themselves damned. 4 

* Nurnb. ed., I. 260, 284, 294, etc. 

2 HUBS also in his Letters repeatedly refers to Joan and Liberius, e.g. he 
writes, " I should like to know if pope Liberius the heretic, Leo the heretic 
and the pope Joan, who was delivered of a boy, were the heads of the Roman 
Church." Workman : Hu^ Letters, p. 125. Ntirnb. ed., I. 302. 

* De indulgentiis, Nttrnb. ed., pp. 220-228. 


370 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

Confession of the heart alone is sufficient for the soul's sal- 
vation where the applicant is truly penitent. 

In denying the infallibility of the pope and of the Church 
visible, and in setting aside the sacerdotal power of the priest- 
hood to open and shut the kingdom of heaven, Huss broke 
with the accepted theory of Western Christendom ; he com- 
mitted the unpardonable sin of the Middle Ages. These fun- 
damental ideas, however, were not original with the Bohemian 
Reformer. He took them out of Wyclif's writings, and he also 
incorporated whole paragraphs of those writings in his pages. 
Teacher never had a more devoted pupil than the English Re- 
former had in Huss. The first three chapters of De eccletsia are 
little more than a series of extracts from Wyclif's treatise on 
the Church. What is true of this work is also true of most of 
Huss' other Latin writings. 1 Huss, however, was not a mere 
copyist. The ideas he got from Wyclif he made thoroughly his 
own. When he quoted Augustine, Bernard, Jerome and other 
writers, he mentioned them by name. If he did not mention 
Wyclif, when he took from him arguments and entire para- 
graphs, a good reason can be assigned for his silence. It was 
well known that it was Wyclif's cause which he was represent- 
ing and Wycliffian views that he was defending, and Wyclif's 
writings were wide open to the eye of members of the university 
faculties. He made no secret of following Wyclif, and being 
willing to die for the views Wyclif taught. As he wrote to 

1 Loserth wrote his Wicliff and Hm to show the dependence of Huss upon 
his English predecessor, and the latter half of this work gives proof of it 
by printing in parallel columns portions of the two authors 1 compositions. 
He says, p. Ill, that the De ecclesia is only "a meagre abridgement of 
Wyclif s work on the same subject. This author affirms that in his Latin 
tractates Huss u has drawn all his arguments from Wyclif, 11 and that "the 
most weighty parts are taken word for word from his English predecessor/ 1 
pp. xiv, 139, 141, 166, etc. Neander made a mistake in rating the influence 
of Matthias of Janow upon Huss higher than the influence of Wyclif. He 
wrote before the Wyclif Society began its publications. Even Palacky, in 
his Church History of Bohemia, III. 190-197, pronounced it uncertain how far 
Huss was influenced by Wyclif's writings, and questions whether he had 
attached himself closely to the English Reformer. The publications of the 
Wyclif Society, which make a comparison possible, show that one writer 
could scarcely be more dependent upon another than Huss was upon Wyclif. 


Richard Wyche, he was thankful that "under the power of 
Jesus Christ, Bohemia had received so much good from the 
blessed land of England. 9 ' l 

The Bohemian theologian was fully imbued with Wyclif s 
heretical spirit. The great Council of Constance was about 
to meet. Before that tribunal Huss was now to be judged. 

45. Huss at Constance. 

Thou wast their Rock, their fortress and their might; 

Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight; 

Thou, in the darkness drear, their light of light. Alleluia. 

The great expectations aroused by the assembling of the 
Council of Constance included the settlement of the disturbance 
which was rending the kingdom of Bohemia. It was well un- 
derstood that measures were to be taken against the heresy 
which had invaded Western Christendom. In two letters ad- 
dressed to Conrad, archbishop of Prag, Gerson bore witness 
that, in learned centres outside of Bohemia, the names of Wyclif 
and Huss were indissolubly joined. Of all HUBS' errors, wrote 
the chancellor, " the proposition is the most perilous that a man 
who is living in deadly sin may not have authority and domin- 
ion over Christian men. And this proposition, as is well known, 
has passed down to Huss from Wyclif." 2 

To Constance Sigismund, king of the Romans and heir of 
the Bohemian crown, turned for relief from the embarrassment 
of Hussitism ; and from Lombardy he sent a deputation to 
summon Huss to attend the council, at the same time promis- 
ing him safe conduct. The Reformer expressed his readiness 
to go, and had handbills posted in Prag announcing his decision. 
Writing to Wenzel and his queen, he reaffirmed his readiness, 
and stated he was willing to suffer the penalty appointed for 
heretics, should he be condemned. 8 

Under date of Sept. 1, 1414, Huss wrote to Sigismund that 
he was ready to go to Constance " under safe-conduct of your 

1 Workman : HUB' Letters, p. 36. 
a Van der Hardt, I. 18; Palacky, Docum., pp. 52*3-628. 
8 For these letters and copies of the handbill, see Workman, Hits' Letters, 
p. 140 sqq. 

872 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

protection, the Lord Most High being my defender." A week 
later, the king replied, expressing confidence that, by his ap- 
pearance, all imputation of heresy would be removed from 
the kingdom of Bohemia. 

Huss set out on the journey Oct. 11, 1414, and reached Con- 
stance Nov. 3. He was accompanied by the Bohemian no- 
bles, John of Chlum, Wenzel of Duba and Henry Lacembok. 
With John of Chlum was Mladenowitz, who did an important 
service by preserving Huss' letters and afterwards editing 
them with notes. Huss' correspondence, from this time on, 
deserves a place in the choice autobiographical literature of the 
Christian centuries. For pathos, simplicity of expression and 
devotion to Christ, the writings of the Middle Ages do not 
furnish anything superior. 

In a letter written to friends in Bohemia on the eve of his 
departure, Huss expressed his expectation of being confronted 
at Constance by bishops, doctors, princes and canons regular, 
yea, by more foes than the Redeemer himself had to face. He 
prayed that, if his death would contribute aught to God's glory, 
he might be enabled to meet it without sinful fear. A second 
letter was not to be opened, except in case of his death. It 
was written to Martin, a disciple whom the writer says he had 
known from childhood. He binds Martin to fear God, to be 
careful how he listened to the confessions of women, and not 
to follow him in any frivolity he had been guilty of in other 
days, such as chess-playing. Persecution was about to do its 
worst because he had attacked the greed and incontinence of 
the clergy. He willed to Martin his gray cloak and bade him, 
in case of his death, give to the rector his white gown and to 
his faithful servant, George, a guinea. 

The route was through Niirnberg. Along the way Huss 
was met by throngs of curious people. He sat down in the 
inns with the local priests, talking over his case with them. 
At Niirnberg the magistrates and burghers invited him to meet 
them at an inn. Deeming it unnecessary to go out of its way 
to meet Sigismund, who was at Spires, the party turned its face 
directly to the lake of Constance. Arrived on its upper shore, 
they sent back most of their horses for sale, a wise measure, as 

45. HtfSS AT CONSTANCE. 373 

it proved, in view of the thousands of animals that had to be 
cared for at Constance. 1 

Arrived at Constance, HUBS took lodgings with a "second 
widow of Sarepta," who had kept the bakery to the White Pig- 
eon. The house is still shown. His coming was a great sen- 
sation, and he entered the town, riding through a large crowd. 
The day after, John of Chlumand Baron Lacembok called upon 
pope John XX III., who promised that no violence should be done 
their friend, nay, even though he had killed the pope's own 
brother. He granted him leave to go about the city, but for- 
bade him to attend high mass. Although he was under sen- 
tence of excommunication, Huss celebrated mass daily in his 
own lodgings. The cardinals were incensed that a man charged 
openly with heresy should have freedom, and whatever misgiv- 
ings Huss had had of unfair dealing were to be quickly justified. 
Individual liberty had no rights before the bar of an ecclesias- 
tical court in the 15th century when a heretic was under accu- 
sation. Before the month had passed, Huss' imprisonment 
began, a pretext being found in an alleged attempt to escape 
from the city concealed in a hay-wagon. 2 On November 28, 
the two bishops of Trent and Augsburg entered his lodgings 
with a requisition for him to appear before the cardinals. The 
house was surrounded by soldiers. Huss, after some hesita- 
tion, yielded and left, with the hostess standing at the stairs 
in tears. It was the beginning of the end. 

After a short audience with the cardinals, the prisoner was 
taken away by a guard of soldiers, and within a week he was 
securely immured in the dungeon of the Dominican convent. 
Preparations had been going on for several days to provide 
the place with locks, bolts and other strong furnishings. 

1 Huss kept one for himself, thinking it might be necessary for him to ride 
and see Sigismund. Writing from Constance, Nov. 4th, he said that horses 
were cheap there. One, bought in Bohemia for 6 guineas, was given away 
for 7 florins, or one-third the original price. Workman : Letters, p. 158. 

2 The charge is reported by Richental, p. 76 sq. His story is invalidated 
by the false date he gives and also by the testimony of Mladenowitz, who 
declared it wholly untrue. If there had been any attempt at escape, it 
would hardly have been allowed to go unnoticed in the trial. See Wylie, 
p. 189. 

374 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

In this prison, Huss languished for three months. His cell 
was hard by the latrines. Fever and vomiting set in, and it 
seemed likely they would quickly do their dismal work. John 
XXIII. deserves some credit for having'sent his physician, who 
applied clysters, as Huss himself wrote. To sickness was added 
the deprivation of books, including the Bible. For two months 
we have no letters from him. They begin again, with January, 
1415, and give us a clear insight into the indignities to which 
he was exposed and the misery he suffered. These letters 
were sent by the gaoler. 

What was Sigismund doing ? He had issued the letter of 
safe-conduct, Oct. 18. On the day before his arrival in Con- 
stance, Dec. 24th, John of Chlum posted up a notice on the 
cathedral, protesting that the king's agreement had been 
treated with defiance by the cardinals. Sigismund professed 
to be greatly incensed, and blustered, but this was the end of 
it. He was a time-serving prince who was easily persuaded 
to yield to the arguments of such ecclesiastical figures as 
D'Ailly, who insisted that little matters like Huss' heresy 
should not impede the reformatidh of the church, the council's 
first concern, and that error unreproved was error counte- 
nanced. 1 All good churchmen prayed his Majesty might not 
give way to the lies and subtleties of the Wycliffists. The 
king of Aragon wrote that Huss should be killed off at once, 
without having the formality of a hearing. 

During his imprisonment in the Black Friars' convent, Huss 
wrote for his gaoler, Robert, tracts on the Ten Commandments, 
the Lord's Prayer, Mortal Sin and Marriage. Of the 13 letters 
preserved from this time, the larger part were addressed to John 
of Chlum, his trusty friend. Some of the letters were written 
at midnight, and some on tattered scraps of paper. 2 In this 

1 In an audience with Sigismund, D'Ailly protested that/actaro J. Hus et 
alia minora non debebant reformationem eccles. et Rom. imperil impedire quod 
erat principals pro quo fuerat concilium congregatum. Fillastre, in Finke, p. 

9 On reading a letter in the Bethlehem chapel, Hawlik exclaimed, " Alas, 
alas, Hus is running out of paper." And John of Chlum spoke of one of 
Huss 1 letters as being written "on a tattered, three-cornered bit of paper/ 9 
Workman : Hus J Letters, p. 196. 


correspondence four things are prominent : Huss' reliance upon 
the king and his word of honor, his consuming desire to be 
heard in open council, the expectation of possible death and his 
trust in God. He feared sentence would be passed before 
opportunity was given him to speak with the king. " If this 
is his honor, it is his own lookout," he wrote. 1 

In the meantime the council had committed the matter of 
heresy to a commission, with D' Ailly at its head. It plied Huss 
with questions, and presented heretical articles taken from his 
writings. Stephen Paletz, his apostate friend, badgered him 
more than all the rest. His request for a " proctor and advo- 
cate " was denied. The thought of death was continually be- 
fore him. But, as the Lord had delivered Jonah from the 
whale's belly, and Daniel from the lions, so, he believed, God 
would deliver him, if it were expedient. 

Upon John XXIII.'s flight, fears were felt that Huss might 
be delivered by his friends, and the keys of the prison were put 
into the hands of Sigismund. On March 24th the bishop of 
Constance had the prisoner chained and transferred by boat to 
his castle, Gottlieben. There he had freedom to walk about 
in his chains by day, but he was handcuffed and bound to the 
wall at night. The imprisonment at Gottlieben lasted seventy- 
three days, from March 24th-June 5th. If Huss wrote any 
letters during that time none have survived. It was a strange 
freak of history that the runaway pontiff , on being seized and 
brought back to Constance, was sent to Gottlieben to be fel- 
low-prisoner with Huss, the one, the former head of Christen- 
dom, condemned for almost every known misdemeanor ; the 
other, the preacher whose life was, by the testimony of all con- 
temporaries, almost without a blemish. The criminal pope was 
to be released after a brief confinement and elevated to an ex- 
alted dignity; the other was to be contemned as a religious 
felon and burnt as an expiation to orthodox theology. 

At Gottlieben, Huss suffered from hemorrhage, headache 
and other infirmities, and at times was on the brink of starva- 
tion. A new commission, appointed April 6, with D' Ailly at 
its head, now took up seriously the heresy of Huss and Wyclif , 

* Workman : Letters, p. 174, 182, 184, 100. 

376 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

whom the council coupled together. 1 Huss' friends had not 
forgotten him, and 250 Moravian and Bohemian nobles signed 
a remonstrance at Prag, May 13, which they sent to Sigis- 
mutfd, protesting against the treatment " the beloved master 
and Christian preacher " was receiving, and asked that he might 
be granted a public hearing and allowed to return home. Upon 
a public hearing Huss staked everything, and with such a hear- 
ing in view he had gone to Constance. 

In order to bring the prisoner within more convenient reach 
of the commission, he was transferred in the beginning of June 
to a third prison, the Franciscan friary. From June 5-8 pub- 
lic hearings were had in the refectory, the room being crowded 
with cardinals, archbishops, bishops, theologians and persons of 
lesser degree. Cardinal D'Ailly was present, and took the lead- 
ing part as head of the commission. The action taken May 4th 
condemning 260 errors and heresies extracted from Wyclif s 
works was adapted to rob Huss of whatever hope of release he 
still indulged. Charges were made against him of holding that 
Christ is in the consecrated bread only as the soul is in the body, 
that Wyclif was a good Christian, that salvation was not depend- 
ent upon the pope and that no one could be excommunicated ex- 
cept by God Himself. He also had expressed the hope his soul 
might be where Wyclif s was. 2 When a copy of his book on 
the Church was shown, they shouted, "Burn it." Whenever 
Huss attempted to explain his positions, he was met with shouts, 
" Away with your sophistries. Say, Yes or No. " The English- 
man, John Stokes, who was present, declared that it seemed to 
him as if he saw Wyclif himself in bodily form sitting before 

On the morning of June 7th, Huss exclaimed that God and 
his conscience were on his side. But, said D'Ailly, " we can- 
not goby your conscience when we have other evidence, and the 
e vidence of Gerson himself against you, the mostrenowned doc- 
tor in Christendom." 8 D'Ailly and an Englishman attempted 

1 See Card. Fillastre's Diary in Finke's Forschungen, pp. 164, 179. 
8 Utinam anima esset ibi, ubi est anima Joh. Wicleff. Mansi, XXVII. 760. 
8 Nos non possums secutidum tuam conscientiam judicare, etc., Palacky, 
Doc. 278. Tschackert, pp. 225,235, says D'Ailly would have been obliged to 


to show the logical connection of the doctrine of remanence with 
realism. When Huss replied that such reasoning was the logic 
of schoolboys, another Englishman had the courage to add, 
Huss is quite right: what have these quibbles to do with mat- 
ters of faith? Sigismund advised Huss to submit, saying that 
he had told the commission he would not defend any heretic 
who was determined to stick to his heresy. He also declared 
that, so long as a single heretic remained, he was ready to light 
the fire himself with his own hand to burn him. He, however, 
promised that Huss should have a written list of charges the 
following day. 

That night, as Huss wrote, he suffered from toothache, vom- 
iting, headache and the stone. On June 8th, 39 distinct arti- 
cles were handed to him, 26 of which were drawn from his work 
on the Church. When he demurred at some of the statements, 
D'Ailly had the pertinent sections from the original writings 
read. When they came to the passage that no heretic should 
be put to death, the audience shouted in mockery. Huss went 
on to argue from the case of Saul, after his disobedience towards 
Agag, that kings in mortal sin have no right to authority. Sig- 
ismund happened to be at the moment at the window, talking 
to Frederick of Bavaria. The prelates, taking advantage of the 
avowal, cried out, " Tell the king Huss is now attacking him." 
The emperor turned and said, "John Huss, no one lives with- 
out sin." D'Ailly suggested that the prisoner, not satisfied with 
pulling down the spiritual fabric, was attempting to hurl down 
the monarchy likewise. In an attempt to break the force of 
his statement, Huss asked why they had deposed pope John. 
Sigismund replied that Baldassarre was real pope, but was 
deposed for his notorious crimes. 

The 39 articles included the heretical assertions that the 
Church is the totality of the elect, that a priest must continue 
preaching, even though he be under sentence of excommunica- 
tion, and that whoso is in mortal sin cannot exercise authority. 

lay aside his purple if he had not resisted Huss' views. Huss had said of 
Gerson, O si dens daret tempus scribendi contra mendacia Parisiensis cancel- 
larii, Palacky, Doc. 97. Gerson went so far as to say that Huss was condemned 
for his realism. See Schwab, pp. 298, 686. 

378 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

Huss expressed himself ready to revoke statements that might 
be proved untrue by Scripture and good arguments, but that 
he would not revoke any which were not so proved. When Sig- 
ismund remonstrated, Huss appealed to the judgment bar of 
God. At the close of the proceedings, D'Ailly declared that 
a compromise was out of the question. Huss must abjure. 1 

As Huss passed out in the charge of the archbishop of Riga, 
John of Chlum had the courage to reach out his hand to him. 
The act reminds us of the friendly words Georg of Frunds- 
berg spoke to Luther at Worms. Huss was most thankful, 
and a day or two afterward wrote how delightful it had been 
to see Lord John, who was not ashamed to hold out his hand 
to a poor, abject heretic, a prisoner in irons and the butt of all 
men's tongues. In addressing the assembly after Huss 9 de- 
parture, Sigismund argued against accepting submission from 
the prisoner who, if released, would go back to Bohemia and 
sow his errors broadcast. " When I was a boy," he said, " I 
remember the first sprouting of this sect, and see what it is to- 
day. We should make an end of the master one day, and when 
I return from my journey we will deal with his pupil. What's 
his name ? " The reply was, Jerome. Yes, said the king, I 
mean Jerome. 

Huss, as he himself states, was pestered in prison by emis- 
saries who sought to entrap him, or to " hold out baskets " for 
him to escape in. Some of the charges made against him he 
ascribes to false witnesses. But many of the charges were not 
false, and it is difficult to understand how he could expect to 
free himself by a public statement, in view of the solemn con- 
demnation passed upon the doctrines of Wyclif . He was con- 
vinced that none of the articles brought against him were 
contrary to the Gospel of Christ, but canon law ruled at coun- 
cils, not Scripture. A doctor told him that, if the council should 
affirm he had only one eye, he ought to accept the verdict. 
Huss replied if the whole world were to tell him so, he would 
not say so and offend his conscience, and he appealed to the 

1 See TBchackert, p. 230. D'Ailly persisted in this position after he left 
Constance. Wyclif and Huss remained to him the dangerous heretics, 
pernitiosi heretici. Van der Hardt, VI. 16. 

45. H08S AT CONSTANCE. 379 

case of Eleazar in the Book of the Maccabees, who would not 
make a lying confession. 1 But he was setting his house in 
order. He wrote affecting messages to his people in Bohemia 
and to John of Chlum. He urged the Bohemians to hear only 
priests of good report, and especially those who were earnest 
students of Holy Writ. Martin he adjured to read the Bible 
diligently, especially the New Testament. 

On June 15th, the council took the far-reaching action for- 
bidding the giving of the cup to laymen. This action Huss 
condemned as wickedness and madness, on the ground that it 
was a virtual condemnation of Christ's example and command. 
To Hawlik, who had charge of the Bethlehem chapel, he wrote, 
urging him not to withhold the cup from the laity. 2 He saw 
indisputable proof that the council was fallible. One day it 
kissed the feet of John, as a paragon of virtue, and called him 
" most holy," and the next it condemned him as " a shameful 
homicide, a sodomite, a simoniac and a heretic." He quoted 
the proverb, common among the Swiss, that a generation 
would not suffice to cleanse Constance from the sins the body 
had committed in that city. 

The darkness deepened around the prisoner. On June 24th, 
by the council's orders, his writings were to be burnt, even 
those written in Czech which, almost in a tone of irony, as he 
wrote, the councillors had not seen and could not read. He 
bade his friends not be terrified, for Jeremiah's books, which 
the prophet had written at the Lord's direction, were burnt. 

His affectionate interest in the people of " his glorious coun- 
try " and in the university on the Moldau, and his feeling of 
gratitude to the friends who had supported him continued un- 
abated. A dreadful death was awaiting him, but he recalled 
the sufferings of Apostles and the martyrs, and especially the 
agonies endured by Christ, and he believed he would be 
purged of his sins through the flames. D' Ailly had replied to 
him on one occasion by peremptorily saying he should obey the 
decision of 50 doctors of the Church and retract without ask- 
ing any questions. " A wonderful piece of information," he 

i Workman : J7u0' Letters, pp. 226, 239-241. 
* See Workman, pp. 185, 246, 248. 

380 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

wrote, "As if the virgin, St. Catherine, ought to have re- 
nounced the truth and her faith in the Lord because 50 phi- 
losophers opposed her." 1 In one of his last letters, written to 
his alma mater of Prag, he declared he had not recanted a 
single article. 

On the first day of July, he was approached by the arch- 
bishops of Riga and Ragusaand 6 other prelates, who still had 
a hope of drawing from him a recantation. A written declara- 
tion made by Huss in reply showed the hope vain. 2 Another 
effort was made July 5th, Cardinals D' Ailly and Zabarella and 
bishop Hallum of Salisbury being of the party of visiting prel- 
ates. Huss closed the discussion by declaring that he would 
rather be burnt a thousand times than abjure, for by abjuring 
he said he would offend those whom he had taught. 8 

Still another deputation approached him, his three friends 
John of Chlum, Wenzel of Duba and Lacembok, and four 
bishops. They were sent by Sigismund. As a layman, John 
of Chlum did not venture to give Huss advice, but bade him, if 
he felt sure of his cause, rather than to lie against God, to 
stand fast, even to death. One of the bishops asked whether 
he presumed to be wiser than the whole council. No, was the 
reply, but to retract he must be persuaded of his errors out of 
the Scriptures. " An obstinate heretic ! " exclaimed the bishops. 
This was the final interview in private. The much-desired 
opportunity was at hand for him to stand before the council as a 
body, and it was his last day on earth. 

After seven months of dismal imprisonment and deepening 
disappointment, on Saturday, July 6th, Huss was conducted to 
the cathedral. It was 6 A.M., and he was kept waiting out- 
side the doors until the celebration of mass was completed. 
He was then admitted to the sacred edifice, but not to make a 
defence, as he had come to Constance hoping to do. He was to 
listen to sentence pronounced upon him as an ecclesiastical out- 
cast and criminal. He was placed in the middle of the church 
onahighstool, set there specially for him. 4 The bishopof Lodi 

i Workman, p. 264. a Ibid., p. 276. 

8 Non vellet abjurare sed militates comburi, Mansi, XXVII. 764. 
4 Ad medium concilii ubi erat levatus in altum scamnum pro eo. Mansi, 
XXVII. 747. 


preached from Rom. 6 : 6, "that the body of sin may be de- 
stroyed." The extermination of heretics was represented as 
one of the works most pleasing to God, and the preacher used 
the time-worn illustrations from the rotten piece of flesh, the 
little spark which is in danger of turning into a great flame and 
the creeping cancer. The more virulent the poison the swifter 
should be the application of the cauterizing iron. In the style of 
Bossuet in a later age, before Louis XIV., he pronounced upon 
Sigismund the eulogy that his name would be coupled with song 
and triumph for all time for his efforts to uproot schism and 
destroy heresy. 

The commission, which included Patrick, bishop of Cork, ap- 
pointed to pronounce the sentence, then ascended the pulpit. 
All expressions of feeling with foot or hand, all vociferation or 
attempt to start disputation were solemnly forbidden on pain 
of excommunication. 30 articles were then read, which were 
pronounced as heretical, seditious and offensive to pious ears. 
The sentence coupled in closest relation Wyclif and Huss. 1 
The first of the articles charged the prisoner with holding that 
the Church is the totality of the predestinate, and the last that 
no civil lord or prelate may exercise authority who is in mortal 
sin. Huss begged leave to speak, but was hushed up. 

The sentence ran that " the holy council, having God only 
before its eye, condemns John Huss to have been and to be a 
true, real and open heretic, the disciple not of Christ but of 
John Wyclif, one who in the University of Prag and before the 
clergy and people declared Wyclif to be a Catholic and an evan- 
gelical doctor vir catholicus et doctor evangelicus. " It ordered 
him degraded from the sacerdotal order, and, not wishing to 
exceed the powers committed unto the Church, it relinquished 
him to the secular authority. 

Not a dissenting voice was lifted against the sentence. Even 
John Gerson voted for it. One incident has left its impress 
upon history, although it is not vouched for by a contemporary. 
It is said that, when Huss began to speak, he looked at Sig- 
ismund, reminding him of the safe-conduct. The king, who sat 
in state and crowned, turned red, but did not speak. 

1 The articles are given in Mans!, pp. 754 sq., 1209-1211, and Hardt, IV. 

382 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

The order of degradation was carried out by six bishops, who 
disrobed the condemned man of his vestments and destroyed 
his tonsure. They then put on his head a cap covered over with 
pictures of the devil and inscribed with the word, heresiarch, 
and committed his soul to the devil. With upturned eyes, Huss 
exclaimed, " and I commit myself to the most gracious Lord 

The old motto that the Church does not want blood ec- 
desia nan sitit sanguinem was in appearance observed, but 
the authorities knew perfectly well what was to be the last scene 
when they turned Huss over to Sigismund. " Go, take him and 
do to him as a heretic " were the words with which the king 
remanded the prisoner to the charge of Louis, the Count Pal- 
atine. A guard of a thousand armed men was at hand. The 
streets were thronged with people. As Huss passed on, he saw 
the flameson the public square which were consuming his books. 
For fear of the bridge's breaking down, the greater part of the 
crowd was not allowed to cross over to the place of execution, 
called the Devil's Place. Huss' step had been firm, but now, 
with tears in his eyes, he knelt down and prayed. The paper 
cap falling from his head, the crowd shouted that it should be 
put on, wrong side front. 

It was midday. The prisoner's hands were fastened behind 
his back, and his neck bound to the stake by a chain. On the 
same spot sometime before, so the chronicler notes, a cardinal's 
worn-out mule had been buried. The straw and wood were 
heaped up around Huss' body to the chin, and rosin sprinkled 
upon them. The offer of life was renewed if he would recant. 
He refused and said, " I shall die with joy to-day in the faith of 
the Gospel which I have preached. " When Richental, who was 
standing by, suggested a confessor, he replied, " There is no 
need of one. I have no mortal sin. " At the call of bystanders, 
they turned his face away from the East, and as the flames 
arose, he sang twice, Christ, thou Son of the living God, have 
mercy upon me. The wind blew the fire into the martyr's face, 
and his voice was hushed. He died, praying and singing. 
To remove, if possible, all chance of preserving relics from 
the scene, Huss' clothes and shoes were thrown into the mer- 


ciless flames. The ashes were gathered up and cast into the 

While this scene was being enacted, the council was going 
on with the transaction of business as if the burning without 
the gates were only a common event. Three weeks later, it an- 
nounced that it had done nothing more pleasing to God than 
to punish the Bohemian heretic. For this act it has been 
chiefly remembered by after generations. 

Not one of the members of the Council of Constance, after its 
adjournment, so far as we know, uttered a word of protest 
against the sentence. No pope or oecumenical synod since has 
made any apology for it. Nor has any modern Catholic historian 
gone further than to indicate that in essential theological doc- 
trines Huss was no heretic, though his sentence was strictly in 
accord with the principles of the canon law. So long as the dog- 
mas of an infallible Church organization and an infallible pope 
continue to be strictly held, no apology can be expected. It is of 
the nature of Protestant Christianity to confess wrongs and, as 
far as is possible, make reparation for them. When the Mas- 
sachusetts court discovered that it had erred in the case of the 
Salem witchcraft in 1692, it made full confession, and offered 
reparation to the surviving descendants ; and Judge Se wall, one 
of the leaders in the prosecution, made a moving public apol- 
ogy for the mistake he had committed. The same court re- 
called the action against Roger Williams. In 1903, the Prot- 
estants of France reared a monument at Geneva in expiation 
of Calvin's part in passing sentence upon Servetus. Luther, 
in his Address to the German Nobility ', called upon the Roman 
Church to confess it had done wrong in burning Huss. That 
innocent man's blood still cries from the ground. 

Huss died for his advocacy of Wycliffism. The sentence 
passed by the council coupled the two names together. 1 The 

1 Buddenseig, Hus, Patriot and Reformer, p. 11, says, " The whole Hussite 
movement is mere Wycliffisin." Loserth, Wiclif and Hus, p. xvi, says, It 
was Wyclif's doctrine principally for which Hus yielded up his life. Invec- 
tives flying about in Constance joined their names together. The Missa Wic~ 
lejistarum ran, Credo in Wykleph ducem injerni patronum Boemice et in Hus 
fllium ejus unicum nequam nostrum, qui conceptusest er spiritu Luciferi, natus 
matre ejus etfactus incarnatus equalis Wikleph, secundum malam voluntatem 

384 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1204-1517. 

25th of the 30 Articles condemned him for taking offence at 
the reprobation of the 45 articles, ascribed to Wyclif. How 
much this article was intended to cover cannot be said. It is 
certain that Huss did not formally deny the doctrine of tran- 
substantiation, although he was charged with that heresy. Nor 
was he distinctly condemned for urging the distribution of the 
cup to the laity, which he advocated after the council had posi- 
tively forbidden it. His only offence was his definition of the 
Church and his denial of the infallibility of the papacy and its 
necessity for the being of the Church. These charges consti- 
tute the content of all the 30 articles except the 25th. Luther 
said brusquely but truly, that Huss committed no more atro- 
cious sin than to declare that a Roman pontiff of impious life is 
not the head of the Church catholic. 1 

John Huss struck at the foundations of the hierarchical sys- 
tem. He interpreted our Lord's words to Peter in a way that 
was fatal to the papal theory of Leo, Hildebrand and Innocent 
III. 2 Hisconception of the Church, whichhe drewfrom Wyclif, 
contains the kernel of an entirely new system of religious au- 
thority. He made the Scriptures the final source of appeal, and 
exalted the authority of the conscience above pope, council and 
canon law as an interpreter of truth. He carried out these 

et major secundum ejus persecutionem, regnans tempore desolationis studii 
Pragensis, tempore quo Boemia a fide apostotavit. Quipropter nos hereticos 
descendit ad inferna et non resurget a mortuis nee habebit vitam eternam. 

1 Note appended to HUBS' writings, ed. 1587. See Huss 1 Opp., Prelim. State- 
ment, I. 4. It did not require the study of the modern historian to affirm the 
view taken above. John Foxe, in his Book of Martyrs, presented it clearly 
when he said, " By the life, acts and letters of Huss, it is plain that he was con- 
demned not for any error of doctrine, for he neither denied their popish tran- 
substantiation, neither spake against the authority of the church of Rome, if 
it were well governed, nor yet against the seven sacraments, but said mass him- 
self and in almost all their popish opinions was a papist with them, but only 
through evil will was he accused because he spoke against the pomp, pride and 
avarice and other wicked enormities of the pope, cardinals and prelates of the 
church, etc. 

9 Gerson declared that among the causes for which Huss was condemned 
was that he had affirmed that the Church could be ruled by priests dispersed 
throughout the world in the absence of one head as well as with one head. 
Schwab, p. 688. 


views in practice by continuing to preach in spite of repeated 
sentences of excommunication, and attacking the pope's right 
to call a crusade. If the Church be the company of the elect, 
as Huss maintained, then God rules in His people and they 
are sovereign. With such assertions, the teachings of Thomas 
Aquinas were set aside. 

The enlightened group of men who shared the spirit of Ger- 
son and D'Ailly did not comprehend Wycliffism, for Wycliff- 
ism was a revolt against an alleged divine institution, the 
visible Church. Gerson denied that the appeal to conscience 
was an excuse for refusing to submit to ecclesiastical authority. 
Faith, with him, was agreement with the Church's system. 
The chancellor not only voted for Huss' condemnation, but 
declared he had busily worked to bring the sentence about. Nine- 
teen articles he drew from Huss' work on the Church, he pro- 
nounced " notoriously heretical." However, at a later time, 
in a huff over the leniency shown to Jean Petit, he stated that 
if Huss had been given an advocate, he would never have been 
convicted. 1 

In starting out for Constance, Huss knew well the punish- 
ment appointed for heretics. The amazing thing is that he 
should ever have thought it possible to clear himself by a pub- 
lic address before the council. In view of the procedure of 
the Inquisition, the council showed him unheard-of considera- 
tion in allowing him to appear in the cathedral. This was 
done out of regard for Sigismund, who was on the eve of his 
journey to Spain to induce Benedict of Luna to abdicate. 2 

As for the safe-conduct salvo-conductus issued by Sigis- 
mund, all that can be said is that a king did not keep his word. 
He was more concerned to be regarded as the patron of a great 
council than toprotecta Bohemian preacher, his future subject. 
Writing with reference to the solemn pledge, Huss said, " Christ 
deceives no man by a safe-conduct. What he pledges he ful- 
fils. Sigismund has acted deceitfully throughout. " 8 The plea, 

1 Schwab, pp. 688-599, 600. On the whole subject of Hues 1 views Schwab 
has excellent remarks, p. 596 sqq. 

a See Workman : Age of Hus, pp. 284, 293, 364, and Wylie, p. 175 sqq. 
8 Workman : Hus* Letters, p. 269 sq. 

386 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

often made, that the king had no intention of giving HUBS an 
unconditional pledge of protection, is in the face of the docu- 
mentary evidence. In September, 1415, the Council of Con- 
stance took formal notice of the criticisms floating about that 
in Huss' execution a solemn promise had been broken, and an- 
nounced that no brief of safe-conduct in the case of a heretic is 
binding. No pledge is to be observed which is prejudicial to 
the Catholic faith and ecclesiastical jurisdiction. 1 

The safe-conduct was in the ordinary form, addressed to all 
the princes and subjects of the empire, ecclesiastical and secular, 
and informing them that Huss should be allowed to pass, re- 
main and return without impediment. Jerome, according to 
the sentence passed upon him by the council, declared that the 
safe-conduct had been grossly violated, and when, in 1433, the 
legates of the Council of Basel attempted to throw the respon- 
sibility for Huss' condemnation on false witnesses, so called, 
Rokyzana asked how the Council of Constance could have been 
moved by the Holy Ghost if it were controlled by perjurers, 
and showed that the violation of the safe-conduct had not been 
forgotten. When the Bohemian deputies a year earlier had 
come to Basel, they demanded the most carefully prepared briefs 
of safe-conduct from the Council of Basel, the cities of Eger 
and Basel and from Sigismund and others. Frederick of Bran- 
denburg and John of Bavaria agreed to furnish troops to pro- 
tect the Hussites on their way to Basel, at Basel, and on their 
journey home. A hundred and six years later, Luther prof- 
ited by Huss' misfortune when he recalled Sigismund's per- 
fidy, perfidy which the papal system of the 16th century 
would have repeated, had Charles V. given his consent. 2 

In a real sense, Huss was the precursor of the Reformation. 
It is true, the prophecy was wrongly ascribed to him, "To-day 
you roast a goose Huss but a hundred years from now 
a swan will arise out of my ashes which you shall not roast." 
Unknown to contemporary writers, it probably originated after 

1 Mansi, XXVII. 791, 799. Also Mirbt, p. 166. Lea, Inquisition, II. p. 462 
sqq., has an excellent statement of the whole question of HUBS' safe-conduct. 

2 Luther declared that a safe- conduct promised to the devil must be kept. 
See Kostlin, M. Luther, I. 352. 


Luther had fairly entered upon his work. But he struck a 
hard blow at hierarchical assumption before Luther raised his 
stronger arm. Luther was moved by Huss' case, and at Leip- 
zig, forced to the wall by Eck's thrusts, the Wittenberg monk 
made the open avowal that oecumenical councils also may err, 
as was done in putting Huss to death at Constance. Years 
before, at Erfurt, he had taken up a volume of the Bohemian 
sermons, and was amazed that a man who preached so evangel- 
ically should have been condemned to the stake. But for fear 
of the taint of heresy, he quickly put it down. l The accred- 
ited view in Luther's time was given by Dobneck in answer to 
Luther's good opinion, when he said that Huss was worse than 
a Turk, Jew, Tartar and Sodomite. In his edition of Huss' 
letters, printed 1537, Luther praised Huss' patience and humil- 
ity under every indignity and his courage before an imposing 
assembly as a lamb in the midst of wolves and lions. If such 
a man, he wrote, " is to be regarded as a heretic, then no per- 
son under the sun can be looked upon as a true Christian." 

A cantionale, dating from 1572, and preserved in the Prag 
library, contains a hymn to Huss' memory and three medal- 
lions which well set forth the relation in which Wyclif and 
Huss stand to the Reformation. The first represents Wyclif 
striking sparks from a stone. Below it is Huss, kindling a 
fire from the sparks. In the third medallion, Luther is hold- 
ing aloft the flaming torch. This is the historic succession, 
although it is true Luther began his career as a Reformer be- 
fore he was influenced by Huss, and continued his work, know- 
ing little of Wyclif. 

To the cause of religious toleration, and without intending 
it, John Huss made a more effectual contribution by his death 
than could have been made by many philosophical treatises, 
even as the deaths of Blandina and other martyrs of the early 
Church, who were slaves, did more towards the reduction of the 
evils of slavery than all the sentences of Pagan philosophers. 
Quite like his English teacher, he affirmed the sovereign rights 

1 John Zacharias, one of the professors of the university at Erf art, had taken 
a prominent part in the debates at Constance against Huss, and received as his 
reward the red rose from the pope. Kostlin, M. Luther^ I. 58, 87. 

388 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1517. 

of the truth. It was his habit, so he stated, to conform his 
views to the truth, whatever the truth might be. If any one, 
he said, " can instruct me by the sacred Scriptures or by good 
reasoning, I am willing to follow him. From the outset of my 
studies, I have made it a rule to joyfully and humbly recede 
from a former opinion when in any matter I perceive a more 
rational opinion." 1 

46. Jerome of Prag. 

A year after Huss' martyrdom, on May 30, 1416, his friend 
Jerome of Prag was condemned by the council and also suf- 
fered at the stake. He shared HUBS' enthusiasm for Wyclif, 
was perhaps his equal in scholarship, but not in steadfast con- 
stancy. Huss' life was spent in Prag and its vicinity. Je- 
rome travelled in Western Europe and was in Prag only occa- 
sionally. Huss left quite a body of writings, Jerome, none. 

Born of a good family at Prag, Jerome studied in his native 
city, and later at Oxford and Paris. At Oxford he became a 
student and admirer of Wyclif's writings, two of which, the 
Trialogus and the Dialogu*, he carried with him back to Bohe- 
mia not later than 1402. In Prag, he defended the English 
doctor as a holy man " whose doctrines were more worthy of 
acceptance than Augustine himself," stood with Huss in the 
contest over the rights of the Bohemian nation, and joined 
him in attacking the papal indulgences, 1412. 

Soon after arriving in Constance, Huss wrote to John of 
Chlum not to allow Jerome on any account to go to join him. 
In spite of this warning, Jerome set out and reached Constance 
April 4th, 1415, but urged by friends he quit the city. He was 
seized at Hirschau, April 15, and taken back in chains. There 
is every reason for supposing he and Huss did not see one an- 
other, although Huss mentions him in a letter within a week 

1 Si aliqua persona ecclesia me scrip. 8. vel ratione valida, docuerit, para- 
tissime consentire. Nam a primo studii met tempore hoc mihi statuipro regula, 
ut quotiescunque saniorem sente.ntiam in quacunque materia per tip er em, a 
priori sententia gaudenter et humiliter declinarem. Wyclif had expressed the 
same sentiment in his De universaltbut, which Huss translated, 1308. See 
Loserth, p. 263. 

46. JEKOME OF PRAG. 389 

before his death, 1 expressing the hope that he would die holy 
and blameless and be of a braver spirit in meeting pain than he 
was. Huss had misjudged himself. In the hour of grave 
crisis he proved constant and heroic, while his friend gave way. 

On Sept. 11, 1415, Jerome solemnly renounced his admira- 
tion for Wyclif and professed accord with the Roman church 
and the Apostolic see and, twelve days later, solemnly repeated 
his abjuration in a formula prepared by the council. 2 

Release from prison did not follow. It was the council's in- 
tention that Jerome should sound forth his abjuration as loudly 
as possible in Bohemia, and write to Wenzel, the university and 
the Bohemian nobles ; but he disappointed his judges. Fol- 
lowing Gerson's lead, the council again put the recusant heretic 
on trial. The sittings took place in the cathedral, May 23 and 
26, 1416. The charge of denying transubstantiation Jerome 
repudiated, but he confessed to having d'one ill in pledging 
himself to abandon the writings and teachings of that good 
man John Wyclif, and Huss. Great injury had been done to 
Huss, who had come to the council with assurance of safe-con- 
duct. Even Judas oraSaracen ought undersuch circumstances 
to be free to come and go and to speak his mind freely. 

On May 30, Jerome was again led into the cathedral. The 
bishop of Lodi ascended the pulpit and preached a sermon, call- 
ing upon the council to punish the prisoner, and counselling that 
against other such heretics, if there should be any, any wit- 
nesses whatever should be allowed to testify, ruffians, thieves 
and harlots. The sermon being over, Jerome mounted a bench 
bancum ascendent and made a defence whose eloquence 
is attested by Poggio and others who were present. Thereupon, 
the "holy synod " pronounced him a follower of Wyclif and 
Huss, and adjudged him to be cast off as a rotten and withered 
branch palmitem putridum et aridum.* 

Jerome went out from the cathedral wearing a cheerful 
countenance. A paper cap was put on his head, painted over 

i Workman : Letters, p. 266. 3 Mansi, XXVII. 794 sqq., 842-864. 

8 For the sentence, see Mansi, XXVII. 887-897. Foxe, in his Book of 
Martyrs, gives a translation and an excellent account of the proceedings 
against Jerome and his martyrdom. 

890 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

with red devils. No sentence of deposition was necessary or 
ceremony of disrobing, for the condemned man was merely a 
laic. 1 He died on the spot where Huss suffered. As the wood 
was being piled around him, he sang the Easter hymn, salva 
festa dies, Hail, festal day. The flames were slow in putting 
an end to his .miseries as compared with Huss. His ashes were 
thrown into the Rhine. And many learned people wept, the 
chronicler Richental says, that he had to die, for he was almost 
more learned than Huss. After his death, the council joined 
his name with the names of Wyclif and Huss as leaders of 

Poggio Bracciolini's description of Jerome's address in the 
cathedral runs thus : 

It was wonderful to see with what words, with what eloquence, with 
what arguments, with what countenance and with what composure, Jerome 
replied to his adversaries, and how fairly he put his case. . . . He advanced 
nothing unworthy of a good man, as though he felt confident as he also 
publicly asserted that no just reason could be found for his death. . . . 
Many persons he touched with humor, many with satire, many very often 
he caused to laugh in spite of the sad affair, jesting at their reproaches. 
... He took them back to Socrates, unjustly condemned by his fellow- 
citizens. Then he mentioned the captivity of Plato, the flight of Anaxag- 
oras, the torture of Zeno and the unjust condemnation of many other 
Pagans. . . . Thence he passed to the Hebrew examples, first instancing 
Moses, the liberator of his people, Joseph, sold by his brethren, Isaiah, 
Daniel, Susannah. . . . Afterwards, coming down to John the Baptist and 
then to the Saviour, he showed how, in each case, they were condemned by 
false witnesses and false judges. . . . Then proceeding to praise John 
Huss, who had been condemned to be burnt, he called him a good man, just 
and holy, unworthy of such a death, saying that he himself was prepared 
to go to any punishment whatsoever. ... He said that Huss had never 
held opinions hostile to the Church of God, but only against the abuses of 
the clergy, against the pride, the arrogance and the pomp of prelates. . . . 
He displayed the greatest cleverness, for, when his speech was often in- 
terrupted with various disturbances, he left no one unscathed but turned 
trenchantly upon his accusers and forced them to blush, or be still. . . . 
For 340 days he lay in the bottom of a foul, dark tower. He himself did 
not complain at the harshness of this treatment, but expressed his wonder 
that such inhumanity could be shown him. In the dungeon, he said, he 
had not only no facilities for reading, but none for seeing. ... He stood 
there fearless and unterrified, not alone despising death but seeking it, so 

1 Laicus, Mansi, XXVII. 894. 

47. THE HUSSITES. 391 

that you would have said he was another Cato. O man, worthy of the ever- 
lasting memory of men I I praise not that which he advanced, if anything 
contrary to the institutions of the Church ; but I admire his learning, his 
eloquence, his persuasiveness of speech, his adroitness in reply. . . . Per- 
severing in his errors, he went to his fate with joyful and willing counte- 
nance, for he feared not the fire nor any kind of torture or death. . . . When 
the executioners wished to start the fire behind his back that he might not 
see it, he said, ' Come here and light the fire in front of me. If I had been 
afraid of it, I should never have come to this place.' In this way a man 
worthy, except in respect of faith, was burnt. . . . Not Mutius himself 
suffered his arm to burn with such high courage as did this man his whole 
body. Nor did Socrates drink the poison so willingly as he accepted the 
flames. 1 

Sylvius, afterwards Pius II., bore similar testimony 
to the cheerfulness which Huss and Jerome displayed in the 
face of death, and said that they went to the stake as to a feast 
and suffered death with more courage than any philosopher. 2 

47. The Hussites. 

The news of Huss' execution stirred the Bohemian nation 
to its depths. Huss was looked upon as a national hero and 
a martyr. The revolt, which followed, threatened the very 
existence of the papal rule in Bohemia. No other dissenting 
movement of the Middle Ages assumed such formidable pro- 
portions. The Hussites, the name given to the adherents of 
the new body, soon divided into two organized parties, the 
Taborites and the Calixtines or Utraquists. They agreed in 
demanding the distribution of the cup to the laity. A third 
body, the Unitas Fratrum, or Bohemian Brethren, originated 
in the middle of the 15th century, forty years after Huss' death. 
When it became known that Huss had perished in the flames, 
the populace of Prag stoned the houses of the priests unfriendly 
to the martyr ; and the archbishop himself was attacked in his 
palace, and with difficulty eluded the popular rage by flight. 
King Wenzel at first seemed about to favor the popular party. 

The Council of Constance, true to itself, addressed a docu- 
ment to the bishop and clergy of Prag, designating Wyclif, Huss 

i Huss, Opera, II. 532-684. Palacky, Mon. 624-699. A full translation is 
given by Whitcomb in Lit. Source-Book of the Italian Renaissance^ pp. 40-47. 
* Hist. Boh., c. 36. 

392 THE MIDDLE AGES. A.D. 1294-1617. 

and Jerome as most unrighteous, dangerous and shameful men, 1 
and calling upon the Prag officials to put down those who were 
sowing their doctrines. 

The high regard in which Huss was held found splendid ex- 
pression at the Bohemian diet, Sept. 2, 1415, when 452 nobles 
signed an indignant remonstrance to the council for its treat- 
ment of their " most beloved brother," whom they pronounced 
to be a righteous and catholic man, known in Bohemia for many 
years by his exemplary life and honest preaching of the law 
of the Gospel. They concluded the document by announcing 
their intention to defend, even to the effusion of blood, the law 
of Christ and his devoted preachers. 2 Three days later, the 
nobles formed a league which was to remain in force for six 
years, in which they bound themselves to defend the free 
preaching of the Gospel on their estates, and to recognize the 
authority of prelates only so far as they acted according to the 

To this manifesto the council, Feb. 20, 1416, replied by cit- 
ing the signers to appear before it within 50 days, on pain of 
being declared contumacious. 

Huss' memory also had honor at the hands of the university, 
which, on May 23, 1416, sent forth a communication addressed 
to all lands, eulogizing him as in all things a master whose life 
was without an equal. 8 In omnibus Magister vitae sine pari. 

Upon the dissolution of the council, Martin V., who, as a 
member of the curia, had excommunicated Huss, did not allow 
the measures to root out Hussitism drag. In his bull Inter 
cunctosf Feb. 22, 1418, he ordered all of both sexes punished 
as heretics who maintained " the pestilential doctrine of the 
heresiarchs, John Wyclif, John Huss and Jerome of Prag." 
Wenzel announced his purpose to obey the council, but many 
of his councillors left the court, including the statesman, Nic- 
olas of Pistna, and the military leader, the o